In a vote cast mostly along party times, senate Republicans blocked efforts to repeal `Don't Ask Don't Tell," the ban on openly gay military service members. The senate block was a major defeat for gay rights activists.
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October 2010: A Vote Against DADT

In a vote cast mostly along party times, senate Republicans blocked efforts to repeal `Don't Ask Don't Tell," the ban on openly gay military service members.

The senate block was a major defeat for gay rights activists, who worry they have lost a crucial opportunity to change the law that has been deemed unconstitutional.

Advocates of overturning the 17-year-old ban were optimistic that the Democratic majority in the White House and Congress could overcome objections to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, which came mostly from the Republican side.

But the move to repeal DADT proved itself unpopular among Republicans, some military officers, and social conservatives. Gay rights advocates see repealing DADT as increasingly more difficult.


Since it's inception in 1993, the military has lost approximately 13,500 service members to sexual orientation-based military discharges.

Gay rights' groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans cite many examples of homophobic co-workers using DADT to penalize service members who kept their sexual preferences private.

The treatment of gays in the military has historically been rooted in secrecy and silence. Gay rights activists hoped that the repeal of DADT would be the first step towards positive change and open acceptance of gays in the military.


Although the Senate's decision to block the repeal of DADT fell mostly along party lines, divisive opinions extend beyond Republicans or Democrats. The crucial question is: what is the best way to protect gays currently serving in the military?

According to Judge Phillips and the Log Cabin Republicans, DADT is unconstitutional and deserves a sudden end. However, according to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, Phillip's injunction would actually harm the future of gays in the military by introducing abrupt change that would fail to transition into a long-lasting policy of tolerance for gays in the military.

The moral and legal confusion as legislators continue to work for positive change is evident as even gay rights supporters caution military service members to stay in the closet until the permanent end of DADT policy.


Not taking the Senate block lightly, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' injunction on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" brought DADT closer to being abolished.

Without a government appeal, the injunction would remain in effect. In the case of a Justice Department appeal, there would be a temporary freeze of Judge Phillip's ruling. Such an appeal would go to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and either side could then take it to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision.


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