November 17th, 2010
09:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Reid to push DADT repeal

(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) has said he will try to bring a measure to repeal the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy - which prevents gays from serving openly in the military– to the Senate floor after Thanksgiving.

"During the work period following the Thanksgiving holidays, I will bring the Defense Authorization bill to the floor, including a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Our Defense Department supports repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces. We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so," Reid said in a statement.

Reid will need 60 votes to bring the measure to the floor if those who oppose the repeal, including Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), decide to keep their promise to block it.

Senator Carl Levin (D- Michigan), the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee who supports repealing the law, earlier discussed two methods that supporters of a repeal could use to bring the measure to the floor. Both avenues face hurdles.

One plan would include a repeal of DADT as part of the Department of Defense Authorization bill– a move which could help passage as senators who oppose it would be forced to make a politically risky vote against military spending as well. Opponents, including McCain, have criticized such a plan.

On Tuesday, Levin told reporters on Capitol Hill that it is possible the vote on repeal could be considered separately from the defense authorization bill. Supporters of repeal have expressed concern that presenting it as a stand alone measure may result in fewer votes.

Levin responded to Reid's statement on Wednesday.

“I welcome Senator Reid’s announcement that he will bring up the National Defense Authorization Act after Thanksgiving. I will work hard to overcome the filibuster so that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed and the NDAA - which is critical to our national security and the well-being of our troops - is adopted," Levin said in a statement.

“I have asked Senator Reid to make his motion to bring up the matter after my committee and the public have received the defense department’s report and following the hearings that I plan to hold on the matter, which should take place during the first few days of December.”

Several senators on the fence about the repeal have stated that they are waiting for a report by the military, expected December 1, on the impact of a proposed repeal, before they will make a decision.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Adam Levine and Charlie Keyes contributed to this report.

Filed under: Carl Levin • Don't Ask Don't Tell • Harry Reid
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. dwayne

    Treat all people as humans. – – No more second class citizens.

    November 17, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. The reality is...

    Keep DADT in place and keep morale up.Gays' sexual preference is their own business – why do they think they need to broadcast it? Straight people don't go around telling everyone they're straight.

    November 17, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Two-thirds of Americans believe DADT should be repealed; the majority of active duty service personnel agree, as do Defense Secretary Robert Gates and several generals/top military brass.

    Sounds good to me! Follow the will of the people, as well as the opinion of those who really know what's going on!

    November 17, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Kenneth Leary

    Removing this law from the Military will not work. It will only cause havoc and ultimately lead to the destruction of our armed forces. As someone who was in the US Army- I know for a FACT that anyone who was GAY and found to be gay got a "blanket party". That is when bedtime happens in the barracks the entire platoon would go to the gay soldier's bed, wrap him up in his blanket and all the soldiers would beat him with a bar of soap wrapped in a towel. The gay soldier could not see who was hitting him so he could not report anyone- and if the entire platoon was to be punished for it they would gladly go under any punishment. You CANNOT house an openly gay soldier in the barracks. It just will not work. You might as well let female and male soldiers shower together and live co-ed in barracks. This is such a shame to let what has become a "civil rights" issue intrude in the US Military which has a seperate code of laws and conduct from civilian society. Adultery is even a crime in the Military- it is a diferent society and needs different laws- as exist already in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Put a gay troop next to me, shower with me? Better not bend over in the shower! This is a joke! These people have no concept of military life.

    November 17, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. margaret

    Perhaps the Democrats can start legislating like Democrats now that the DINOs have been voted out of office.

    November 17, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  6. Carl LaFong

    Couldn't our commander in chief wipe this thin clean by executive order?

    November 17, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. Kevin

    I love how these clueless politicians, many who have never served, think this is a good idea to repeal the DADT ban. I am indifferent to gays serving, but I know how the military really is. When some kid comes out in a combat arms unit he will be hurt. You just dont do that in the macho, testosterone dominated military. Maybe in some areas it will be fine, but I feel sorry for the ones who come out in combat units.

    November 17, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. JennyTX

    It is time to get rid of that discriminatory policy! They want the honor of serving our country, and we should respect them!

    November 17, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. lerianis

    I hope he manages to pass this repeal. There is no reason why someone should be prevented from serving our country totally openly (which if they cannot because of their sexuality, someone could blackmail them with that knowledge) because of their sexuality.

    November 17, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. dennis

    Oh great, taxes cuts are about to expire, there is 10% unemployment, the European Economy is about to go bankrupt, and old Harry Reid, wants the continued Democrat degregation of our national morality to occupy the "Lame" Senate time he has been running. By the way, did the Justice Department find all those ballot boxes the Unions stuffed to keep Harry in his Lame Position, or did Obama make a phone call to cut off the investigation?

    November 17, 2010 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. Peter s

    Sir Harry Reid! I guess even in the 60's you were taught how to prioritize issues!, and as long as people like me and the rest of the Americans have no jobs! this thing you call DADT is none issue and you know why? its not because those affected are not important but we have the moral obligation to give everyone regardless of sex, gender, color or creed a decent job in America!!. If you don't prioritize I promise you a political tsunami in 2012!! before the Nov 2 I talked about read my lips!! and it just happened wao I'm good at what I do!!!

    November 17, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. James Savik

    About damn time. The Dems were in charge for the last two years with unstoppable majorities and let this thing sit around until the eleventh hour. Even so I doubt it will pass. Too many democrats will vote against it and the republicans don't have any reason to vote for it. This leaves GLBT people stuck in the middle with unreliable allies on the left and no common ground on the right.

    November 17, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    The DADT law is, was, and remains a disgrace to The American constitution. Religion determining politics shame on us.

    November 17, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. Snow

    The Generals and Admirals do not support dropping the ban. The idiots in Nevada reelected this fool but thats ok, come 2012 the Republicans can run on obummer,pelosi and reid again and this time maybe we can get rid of alot more demorats.

    November 18, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. fhwilson429

    when you look, it's hilarious. the ones who want to push gays in the military are those that have never served.
    how many gays are we talking about to make this a never ending topic?

    November 18, 2010 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  16. Rick

    As a veteran, I think repealing DADT would be a mistake, I have listen to all of the argument from both sides, but it all come down to this, TRUST. Most of america may want this repeal, but most of america is not in the Military, Most of the Military may also say they want this repeal but most of the Military do not serve on the front line, on the front everything depend on you believing the man next to you thinks the same way you think, this is what create the link between you and that link helps you survive. There is one other thing, the fact gays want the be acknowledged tell me you are not military material becaus the military is about defending this country not about you.

    November 18, 2010 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  17. George of the jungle

    Once they have the military report I hope they make a dicission. Try and get as much done before january. Saw a report that palin wants to run for president. Make ya want to puke doesn't it. Stay in alaska Fox news is at it again. Why don't we just boycott them ?

    November 18, 2010 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  18. Daniel

    I am pleasantly surprised that Senator Reid is moving forward with this. I had been cynically convinced that the "lame duck" Congress would beg off addressing this issue, which I feel is a critical civil rights issue too long delayed.

    If Congress wishes to pursue this matter by way of repeal, through legislation, it must take the initiative and act. Otherwise it will fall to the courts once again to move us forward out of the backwaters of bigotry and institutionalized discrimination.

    November 18, 2010 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  19. jules sand-perkins

    I reread this report carefully, hoping to see a mention of President Obama's exertion of his influence toward repealing DADT.
    Senator McCain's opposition to repeal is to be expected of him: he lives in a sociological time warp and has outlived his personal usefulness to his country.
    The President acted energetically when he want health-care legislation passed. He is not required to act in opposition to his true feelings (and Christian concepts) about gay and lesbian citizens, but he can not expect their political support if he refuses to help them.
    Perhaps Mr. Obama does not yet fully understand that the functioning of our representative system of government is based completely on that dynamic.

    November 18, 2010 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  20. Yolanda

    Wouldn't it be nice if this much effort was put into improving the know, something that affects ALL Americans.

    November 18, 2010 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  21. Marie MD

    Gays are already serving and dying in the military so that people like those church haters have rights to embarrass themselves and the country at military funerals while hiding behind the same bible that says to love your fellow man.
    The Democrats need to grow a pair right now and do what is right for the country.

    November 18, 2010 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  22. Russ from Md

    I don't know who they are asking in the military for support of the repealing of DADT but my 20 years in the navy and continued working with the military another 10 years tells me that they want to keep things as they are. The large majority of service members I know do not feel comfortable sharing quarters, showers and lavatories with a gays or lesbians knowing the sexual preference. Why try to fix what is not broke.

    November 18, 2010 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. Mollybee

    Let'e get 'er done. Too much time and money already spent on this archaic issue. Parents, quit teaching your kids to the long run, it tears them up. Now let's work on making military service more equitable between the haves and have-nots.

    November 18, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  24. Bill the Cat

    "We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so,"

    So, does that mean that the discriminatory physical fitness standards are the next to go? Or perhaps the restrictions on those wishing to be a pilot? Or any of the other discriminatory practices by the UCMJ that tell certain people they can not serve in the military?

    November 18, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  25. RobGinChicago

    If the report due to be released on December 1st has already been leaked, why not release the report now so that Congress will have sufficient time to "fully debate" the Defense Authorization Bill and schedule a vote on the measure. Sure the Republicans can go back on their assurances of suport (in exchange for "full debate") as they are wont to do, but without the debate, Harry Reid will not likely get the 60 votes that he claims to need in order to bring the measure to a vote. Enough of this Kubuki Political Theater already! Release the report and let's get on with it.

    November 18, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
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