BREAKING: Senate Blocks Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal, Gays Lose, John McCain Wins

Today’s Senate vote blocked the Defense Programs bill that included, among other things, a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Although 57 senators voted in favor, 60 were needed to move the bill forward. Several crucial Republican senators who had previously pledged or implied their support of a repeal, including Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, instead voted against the repeal, sealing the fate of thousands of American servicemembers.

You can read the responses of nationwide gay organizations and news outlets in Pam’s House Blend’s roundup. We find GetEqual’s statement particularly pertinent.

We all laid everything we could on the line for this bill — a piece of legislation that would have repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We all know that gay and lesbian Americans are just as patriotic and capable as straight Americans — but dysfunctional Senate processes, a homophobic Republican Party, and a spineless Democratic Party got in the way of equality once again.

Let us be clear — this wasn’t the bill we wanted. This compromised piece of legislation was far from the ideal — it would have left our transgender sisters and brothers behind, it kicked actual repeal to some undefined date later down the road, and it said nothing about how to deal with lesbian or gay enlistees who have partners who must remain second-class citizens because their lives are still ruled by the Defense of Marriage Act.

And even this compromised piece of legislation didn’t pass.

We are sorry for our servicemembers, and ashamed of our government.

UPDATE: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced a stand-alone bill that is intended to “provide for a repeal of the Department of Defense policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” The full text of the bill can be read here. It still needs enough cloture votes to override a filibuster, and would still need to be passed before the Senate adjourns for the end of the year.  Senator Harry Reid has promised to expedite the bill, but Congress is also set to adjourn on December 17th. We will, of course, keep you posted on new developments.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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90 Comments

  1. I think until this country comes around and starts supporting equality for all, we need to stop fighting their wars for them. I appreciate the many gay and lesbian men and women who have chosen to serve, and am sorry they won’t be able to follow their calling. But seriously, time to stop supporting the war/hate mongers. Let them fight their own wars. Finally, as disappointed as I am in Obama, I am so fucking thankful J. McCain did not win.

  2. Can we just have one break this year? Just one? 3 FUCKING VOTES. FUCKING TWO-FACED REPUBLICANS. I almost (almost) have more respect for John McCain for sounding like an idiot and standing by his views, rather than promising one thing and doing the other.
    I mean they got their tax cut extensions. Can we not get three fucking votes?

  3. maddow just tweeted this:

    JoeLieberman Joe Lieberman
    by maddow
    Senator Reid told me he will “Rule 14” the free-standing #DADT repeal so it skips cmte and can come directly to the Senate floor.

  4. Grrrrr. What pisses me off is why the Dems even try to compromise with these jackasses. Where is the backbone? Racial integration of the army was unpopular (63% opposed*) and the military was against it and Truman was like fuck you here’s an executive order. Whereas most (67%) of the public is for lifting DADT (Please see: http://www.gallup.com/poll/145130/Support-Repealing-Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell.aspx)

    AND the military leaders/personnel are like yeah we can do this. It’s just going to look like even more of a potentially damaging unilateral fuck you from Obama if he does it by executive order now versus having just said the people demand it, I don’t need to consult with Congress, I’m in charge of the military, we’re doing it.

    GAH! I’m going to make some tea and contemplate the complete cluster fuckery fuckitude.

    *from: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/military_history.html

  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That’s me laughing at myself for actually holding my breathe praying again that this would work out in favor of us.
    Guess I’m going to work tomorrow under the same discrimination I have been for the past two years.

    • freakin seriously. I feel like other bad news in life never phases me because I’ve gotten my hopes up so many times just to get crushed. this particular issue makes me die a little inside each time, though.

      I just can’t comprehend how repubs can be so fucking selfish.

  6. Supposedly some of those Repubs who took back their pledges did so because they refused to pass anything before the tax bill passes.

    So not only do Republicans get to block a change in DADT, they also get to pretend to be concerned about the deficit while insisting that nothing take precedence over tax cuts for rich people. And the Democrats are to weak to call them on any of it. STAND UP FOR FUCKING **SOMETHING** DEMOCRATS.

  7. The irony of this all is that I had a tab on my computer open to a list of Senators that were on the fence about DADT, and was going to call them as soon as I got back from taking my final. I get back, bring up HuffPo, and see this.

    I just… I can’t even come up with a response to this that doesn’t consist of I HATE EVERYTHING RAGE RAGE RAGE *LAMPSMASH*.

    Why you gotta break my heart like this, US?

  8. AKDJFALKJDG’PADJFOAPSDF

    I opened up my e-mail to find said message from GetEqual. It opened with “I have to be honest — I just vomited a little in my mouth.” I think that’s appropriate. 3 fucking votes? Three!? What do we have to do for them to listen to us? When will they start to give a fuck? Do we have to go raging in the streets? Scream in people’s faces? What is it going to take for this country to show us some fucking respect?

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    • “Do we have to go raging in the streets? Scream in people’s faces?”

      Yes. Never underestimate civil disobedience. And if that doesn’t work, bring on the revolution!

  9. America….are you for serious?! Honestly, after hearing crap like this it kind of makes me want to take America off my list of possible countries to emigrate to..(and emigration seems to be my only option now)…..not that it’s any loss to the States or anyone in general, im merely just stating what a lot of us here are thinking. I’m just really disappointed is all, for hundreds of years, America was always this beacon of hope and change for Ireland (my country) and to many other countries but now it’s becoming a bit of a civil rights joke on occasion. (no disrespect to any yanks on AS, you’re all savage, true story!)

    • This is exactly why i’ve considered applying for dual citizenship in Ireland. My grandparents made great lives for themselves by coming to America, but it feels like their hard work has was in vain when they worked so hard for respect as citizens of this country only to have their own born into a second-class. I know Ireland has most recently felt these hard times upon us all, but the one thing I felt upon visiting that I have never felt at home was a true sense of belonging. Immediately in Ireland, I was recognized as ‘being Irish.’ A sense of pride overwhelmed me, not only for embodying my pure Irish heritage, but feeling like for once, I was an accepted member of society. That my lineage and our shared respect of it was more important than who i sleep with at night.

      • Ah im delighted you felt like that! Unfortunately the government here is only bringing in civil partnerships next year so we’re still unequal but at least we’re making progress towards equality, meanwhile America is apparently becoming progressively more homophobic and going the other way for some reason. When I was younger my mother would always say things like “It’s like America at home!” when something was super fancy or progressive or whatever…now I cant believe it but Ireland, Catholic obsessed Ireland, is more forward thinking when it comes to gay rights and things as far as I can tell. Now I could be wrong but that’s just my opinion. The homophobes and bigots seem so much more scarily venomous and filled with hate where you are. Anyway, yes times are a bit tough right now but fuckit life isnt too bad and im glad you liked it here, I hope you come back soon and have a great time again! 😀

  10. There’s still a small shred of hope. Collins, Lieberman, and Reid, and Udall are trying to push the DADT as a separate piece of legislation during the lame duck session using Reid’s ability to invoke Rule #14. It could still happen. Although, something would need to happen to get around the inevitable filibuster.

  11. Go go gadget Rule 14!

    If they pull this off I will say nice things about Harry Reid, Susan Collins, and Joe Lieberman. I promise I will Twitter nice things about all three.

    I guess this is the political equivalent of futilely trying to bargain with God, right?

  12. Ya’ know what’s sad? I was expecting this. I honestly did not think it was going to go through. Yeah, it would be great if it would, but with the way the Republicans are acting like greedy toddlers right now I don’t expect any actual legislative progress for a number of years. And by then it doesn’t matter because I will have likely moved to Canada. I hear they’re much nicer to us up there.

  13. Um, Mr. Scott Brown? Could you stop ruining my state’s name? kthanx.

    In all seriousness, though, I’m heartbroken. Even in 2010, when being gay is supposed to be accepted, even “trendy,” we keep getting screwed.

    Fuck you John McCain.

  14. I’m so sorry you guys, this news is SERIOUSLY shite. I feel for all the Americans out there, I really do, ALL of them. (N.B – Not John ‘Wacko’ McCain.) Their voice is not being heard and it’s so sad.

    I would also like to extend the invitation to all of you to come move to the UK with me. Just let me know in advance so I can run the hoover round and get some cookies in.

    It’s cold and gloomy here right now, but I can dance around being as gay as I like, all the way down the aisle…

    Sad times

    x

  15. I’m always jealous of Canadians when I hear them talking about how they love their country. ’cause, like . . . I love the US, too, but I love it like it’s my badly dysfunctional family and I’ll never really be rid of it. And I’m like, what would it be like to have a family that’s frequently sane?

    Like, talk of moving to Canada is all well and good (I’m sure it’s lovely there), but I want to have rights at HOME. I feel like I deserve that. We deserve that.

    • I get that, I totally get that. I didn’t mean to suggest what I suggested as a way of belittling the US problem.

      But. I just finished a Philosophy course that made me think of things a little bit differently. Right now, by living in the United States I feel like you are governed by those rules (obvs) and like, Locke was all gung-ho about your ability and actually the -obligation- of the People to dissolve and reform a government that infringes on its rights beyond the boundaries of the social contract theretofore agreed to.

      But the problem is that the gaymos of the USA are not a majority and will never be a majority. And are not currently achieving a majority with their allies. So the problem that Locke (later Jefferson) did not anticipate was that the rights of the minority would be savagely ripped away like that. It’s an effing shitty political impasse.

      But. What you CAN do, when it gets SO bad, SO intolerable, if refused to give your allegiance, your consent to that shitty government that thinks you are a second-class citizen. I know it doesn’t fix the system. I know not everyone will move away. I know that it doesn’t fight homophobia, and I know that it probably feels like running away. But there’s probably a point when, if you’re the last skinny kid playing dodgeball with the bullies who’ve glued your feet to the floor, you’re forced to just unlace your shoes and walk out of the gym in your socks. And as it turns out, there are awkward little Canadian gaymos who will gladly fatten you up on maple syrup, love, and equal rights in the hallway.

      • Oh yeah, I totally get that. Like, I’m in the Philippines right now as a volunteer, and I know there’s another volunteer here who’s talking about moving to Australia with his boyfriend after his term here ends, because seriously, why should he go back to a place where he has no rights?

        Seriously, the emotion I feel when I think about Canada is almost identical to the emotion I felt when I was teenager and my parents were getting a divorce and EVERYTHING sucked, and I looked at the families of my friends and they were all happy and normal. Like, damn, why can’t that be me? If I’d had the option of moving families, I probably would’ve taken it.

        (Of course, I eventually came to love my screwed up family precisely because it’s so screwed up. So maybe I’ll come to terms with the US, too? Or maybe I’ll decide I want a federally recognized marriage and/or real maple syrup.)

  16. I see you casting your vote on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
    And I’m Like “FUCK YOU” (oo oo ooo)
    I guess you think that the gays are still going to hell
    I’m like FUCK YOU and FUCK SCOTT BROWN TOO
    Said if I was straighter
    My rights would be greater.
    Now ain’t that some shit.
    (Ain’t that some shit)
    And although there’s pain in my chest I still wish you the best.
    With a “FUCK YOU” (oo oo ooo)

    • I so needed the smile that this produced–thank you.

      Personally, I’m awaiting DADT to be repealed so I can go back in the military as a Flight Surgeon. (I need $$ for my student loans.) Having served before and Honorably Discharged, I’m completely aware of what I’m getting myself into–but this time I have a child. I am unwilling to lie / compromise myself for my government and simultaneously speak of truth and integrity to my son.

      This time, Dr. Mommy is walking the talk–
      / rant ended, thanks again..

  17. In all seriousness though, I’m livid. I live in DC and have friends who work on the Hill, and just Wednesday night the news was circulating that a small group of Republicans were coming around to vote in favor of repeal. The excitement of even getting that tiny step, that morsel of compromise, forward was palpable. It terrifies me that this is the state of our discourse and our public policy. Ugh. Sickening.

  18. Really? I was pretty sure Collins (R-ME) voted yes. I believe she’s one of the sponsors of OUR LAST HOPE. BECAUSE THERE’S STILL HOPE. I’m a big believer in it, even though it lets me down more often then not.

    But seriously, y’all should read the link below. It might happen. Gates threatened the Republicans with ‘the courts’, and we all know how scary those are.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/12/why_dadt_repeal_isnt_dead.html

  19. Just left a sad message with a staffer at Scott Brown’s office. If you’re in MA, you can contact him at (617) 565-3170. The staffer sounded pretty annoyed and you have to give your zip code when you call in, fyi.

  20. As someone who worked on DADT repeal in North Dakota, a great big [tiny] red state, all summer, I’m satisfied that at least the upper Midwest is voting in favor of repeal.

    While you reach out to your own senators, please also remember to thank those who are voting in favor of repeal so that they continue to fight for those last few votes!

    My five-person gay household did! 🙂

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  22. He is experienced military-head so he should winned the debate(intellectually) and the recently politic-religious situation helps a lot, but we sincerely wanted to know what’s the purposes behind ? Do our leaders doing great in caring the people of our country, or just cool-cruel in heart and not good in EQ (not experienced in human life ) then they’re not loving them. Will this the better ways to build a strong unite-country ? May be all huamns need one better belief(religious) that can meet the needs for everyone (equality,…)

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