September 21st, 2010
03:02 PM ET
8 years ago

Senate halts 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Washington (CNN) - A defense bill that includes the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy failed to advance in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as Republicans closed ranks to keep the bill from coming up for debate.

The bill stalled on a 56-43 vote, four short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican-led filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, joined the opposition as a tactical move, allowing him to bring it up later.

Republicans stood united against the measure even though some GOP senators favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret. Republican opponents complained that Democratic leaders are limiting the debate and could have refused to allow GOP amendments to the broader National Defense Authorization Act, which included the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal provision.

President Obama had promised to repeal the congressionally enacted ban on military service by openly gay and lesbian sevicemembers. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House is "disappointed" at the Senate vote, "but we'll keep trying."

Full Story

Updated 4:05 p.m.

Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Christiana Chineme

    What else is new. Republicans have blocked everything President Obama has attempted to do.

    September 21, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. get real

    CNN got this headline wrong. It should say REPUBLICANS BLOCK DEFENSE BILL.

    September 21, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Elliott

    Typical Washington Politics alright. On the right, you have the Republicans who have openly stated that they will stop progress and on the left, you have the Democrats, who have openly stated that one should wait until the floor vote before introducing amendments.

    On the left you have Republicans who are waiting with arms of 'their' amendments and on the right you have Democrats who are also waiting with 'their' amendments.

    Since for my life time Congress hasn't known their right from their left, why not just allow an up or down vote on the bill at hand, so everyone else in this country who has managed to hang onto their defense related job can get back to work!

    Or let's American's vote in independent leadership from the left or the right (sorry Tea Baggers) come Nov 2nd and next time, there won't be a this that's progressive thinking...FOX News, try it sometimes, you'll like it....CNN News, allow it to be heard sometimes on your broadcasts (i.e. Anderson 360) you'll win over those poor souls who listen to Fox News...and everyone who believes in this country still, will WIN!

    September 21, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. waheid

    It is absolutely foolish not to repeal DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). There have been and will continue to be gays in the military. If, through some perverse methodology, we could identify and separate everyone in the U.S. military who was gay, there would be far fewer people in the military. And that includes the "flag" ranks (generals and admirals). And even though the nominee for the USMC says he is opposed to repeal of DADT, the marines have - and have had - their fair share of gay men and women. Homosexuality is not unnatural. Stop burying our heads in the sand. Time to face facts. Time to face reality. Time to repeal DADT!

    September 21, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Vote republicans out

    I am going to make sure we vote the republicans out of the office. Because they dont like the demoncrates dont use this to hurt open gay military. They thousands of gay military fighting for this country and what they get a no vote from the republicans. Open your eyes up American the republican party is the party of NO.

    September 21, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Shame on you U.S. Senate!!! No other employer in the U.S. is allowed to discriminate, but the U.S. military can? DADT is unconstitutional and needs to be heard in the SCOTUS.

    September 21, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. A. Goodwin

    This is really sad news. BUT – this fight is not over yet!! I just wish the GOP would just outright say they are bigots and get over themselves all ready. Too bad our Pledge of Allegiance is all wrong..."with liberty and justice for all..." simply does not pertain to some, I guess. BOOO to the a few years you old white guys will be RIP and those who prescribe to your mentality will too..and the millennials will laugh and say "what were these fools thinking?"

    September 21, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Irma in North Carolina

    What else did they expect as long as the republicans are in there. This is all they have done for the last year and half.

    September 21, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Jim in Florida


    CNN's video coverage of this includes many videos from Lady Gaga

    A sad commentary on where we are in this country with substantive debate.

    September 21, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. norma

    Countries who allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in their military: Germany, France, Great Britian, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, etc...

    Countries who do not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in their military: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Cuba, USA

    Great goin' GOP! Way to allign us with Iran, Pakistan and Cuba.

    September 21, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Beverly - NYC

    John McCain is a disgrace. While he touts his military service for sympathy votes every chance he gets, he is no ally of vets from any era. He votes against their interest constantly..

    McCain opposed the 21st Century GI Bill because "It Is Too Generous". McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous

    McCain voted against increased funding for Veterans’ Health Care. He told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority. Another LIE.

    And now this, voting in lock step with the other homophobes, AFTER saying he would vote to repeal, if the brass were for it. Open your eyes people , Republicans promises mean squat. Please Arizona give McCain a November surprise.

    September 21, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Dennis in AZ

    I guess I just don't get the connection between one's sexuality and their ability to perform or not perform in combat by championing that sexuality. It's fairly obscure as some premise to an arguement about equal rights. I don't recall during my time in service that heterosexuals were running around shouting from the roof tops that they were hetero? On the other hand, every time the Congress comes up with a law to protect some special group, they become a protected class of people. I thought all of us Americans were the same. But, in my brief 49 years as an American I've seen several groups become "more equal" than other groups. It always costs money–and it always comes back to the Congress spending more of our money.

    September 21, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Jacob

    i can't really argue anymore that Republicans are homophobic and racist! it's fact!

    September 21, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. thomas

    You would think because there are more Log Cabin Closet Queens in the republican party the bill would pass unanimously !

    September 21, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Laurie in Spokane

    Wouldn't ya know it?! Republicans blocked advancement of the bill through the Senate. They can't come up with new ideas on their own, and are just obstructionist on anything else. Pathetic bunch of morons.

    September 21, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. kakaraka

    Please CNN, say the GOP block the defense bill and not the senate. The GOP, party of no, tea baggers continue their no sayer and partisan political game by voting against a defense bill in the midle of war. Disgusting. Vote them out all GOP and tea bagger senators and candidates. They're not doing anything in congress, just to obstruct american progress and military defense with special interests, big oil and wall street help. Disgusting. Vote GOP out of congres American. They are hurting the country.

    September 21, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Rob in MO

    This is stupid. 14,000 patriotic Americans who want to serve have been dismissed because of this bigotry. Our military and thus our nation have suffered greatly because of this ridiculous policy.

    September 21, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. teabooger


    as Palin says the Tea Party is the Future of America!

    Just one more example of the Democratic Party of "No" again doing nothing! Time for all the Tea Party platform goals to be reached. Just wait till the Dems are out and the Baggers are in. . . you'll see some things getting done then!

    Palin Beck 2011!

    September 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Robert

    BOO! Shame on all of the Senators who did not vote favorably.

    September 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Shame on Harry Reid

    Godd for the GOP and the many many democrats that were against this. Shame on Obama and Harry reid for playing politics with our military and for trying to score immigration points for the mid term Harry Need to GO AWAY

    September 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Tinkers Dam

    If DADT and DREAM are so important, why attach them to the defense budget. These bills should be brought forth on their own merits and passed seperately. Thank you GOP and those Dem senators who blocked this.

    September 21, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Darko

    This Dem congress hasn't passed a budget and is planning on leaving DC weeks early to campaign. They going to make history by not having passed a budget!!!

    They have 'precious' moments on the floor to pass bills and the economy is a slow motion train wreck and they spend their time haggling over DADT??


    Priorities anyone???

    September 21, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    That tears it doesn't it. The Senate knows this would be a divided issue will not make a committment before the elections.
    Because getting re-elected is more important than doing the job as representatives of the people.
    The voters should fired each and every senator for failing to do their job this November.

    September 21, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Tammy

    I am sickened by this turn of events if not surprised. Wake up Democrats and progressives. If we don't really start making as much noise at this election we are in a lot of trouble. It is 10 years into the 21st century and we are having news stories about witches and the scary "gays" that might be serving in our military. Shut the GOP and the tea baggers up and make sure that sanity is voice of the nation. I know that I have not been completely satisfied with the Dems or the President but I cannot stand the thought of going back to the way it was. GET REIGNITED DEMS or the dark ages are coming back.

    September 21, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Dean

    The Republicans knocked down the bill because of non-contextual line items. The Democrats don't know how to craft effective legislation.

    September 21, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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