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Americas

Senate shoots down bill repealing "don't ask, don't tell"

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-09

US Senate Republicans voted against a bill to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy Thursday, potentially thwarting White House efforts to abolish a nearly 20-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces.

 REUTERS - U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked White House-backed legislation to repeal a ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military, possibly killing the measure for the year.

 
On a 57-40 vote, Democrats fell short of the needed 60 votes to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and move to end the 17-year-old policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."
 
The proposed repeal is contained in a defense policy bill. The Democratic-led Senate could take another crack at passing it this year, but besides being short of votes, it is also running out of time.
 
This session of the Congress may end next week. When the new Congress convenes next month, Republicans will control the House of Representatives and have five more seats in the Senate, cutting the Democrats' hold on the chamber to 53-47.
 
At least 13,000 men and women have been expelled from the military under "don't ask, don't tell," which allows gay men and women to serve as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret. It was implemented in 1993 under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
 
President Barack Obama, a Democrat, took office in January 2009, vowing to end the policy. But he has faced opposition from Republicans led by his 2008 White House challenger, Senator John McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam.
 
Senate Republican opposition recently intensified as a result of an another yet unrelated hot-button issue. They vowed to block any bill -- other than ones to fund the government -- until expiring tax cuts were extended for virtually all American taxpayers.

 

Date created : 2010-12-09

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