In an effort to upstage Lady Gaga’s commentary on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the US Senate has announced via Harry Reid that it plans to finally do what it has been talking about for months, and bring the bill that includes the issue of a DADT repeal to the Senate floor for debate. The bill in question deals primarily with military spending; DADT was bundled into it later on, and its inclusion is problematic for a number of groups. There’s been talk about this being a ploy by military and government officials who want to see DADT remain, and that the bill will link DADT to military spending that Obama has already said he won’t approve in order to put him in an impossible position and force him to keep the current policy. There’s also the possibility that Republican senators will try to filibuster the bill, however, and thus keep even the military spending from going forward in order to block a DADT repeal. (@cnn)
No one who works here knows enough about the workings of the Senate to know whether Reid’s scheduling of the bill for this week could have to do with the momentum that the issue has gained over the past few weeks – a Federal judge in California recently ruled that DADT was unconstitutional and in violation of the First and Fifth amendments, and former Major Margaret Witt is suing for her right to be reinstated into the Air Force after being discharged under DADT. And this comes only a few weeks after top-of-her-class West Point cadet Katie Miller outed herself, citing the psychological strain and dishonesty of living under a policy that forced her to lie about herself. It’s possible that Reid had planned on bringing the bill up this week for some time before all this happened, but it’s nice to feel that perhaps he was influenced by recent events, and that therefore our actions have some sort of measurable consequence in the world around us and we have a modicum of control over our fate.
The real question, of course, is what will happen to this bill once it actually does reach the Senate, and for that we have no answer. Until next week, at least. Stay tuned!