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End to 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Stalls in Senate

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 22, 2010 10:06 AM

Last week I blogged about the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy going up for senate debate. I talked about the excitement (from both sides) surrounding the bill that sought to ban the controversial policy that has been in effect since 1993. Now, in a rather anti-climatic update, the possible end to Don't Ask Don't Tell stalls in the Senate

SFGate.com reports that the military defense bill, spear-headed by Majority Leader Harry Reid, was four votes shy of moving forward, and will likely not be revisited until after the November 2 elections. Senate Republicans voted unanimously against the bill that would set aside $726 billion in defense spending for the upcoming year.

A major reason for the Don't Ask Don't Tell stall in the Senate can be attributed to extraneous issues inserted into the bill that would be supporters of ending the DADT policy found objectionable. An immigration measure, which would allow undocumented immigrants under 16 that remain in the U.S. for 5 years to gain citizenship, was staunchly opposed by most republicans.

Republican Senator Susan Collins is part of the group of republicans in support of ending the policy, but voted against the bill because of the limited number of amendments republicans were allowed. Collins is quoted by SFGate.com, "If an individual is willing to put on the uniform of our country to be deployed in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans should be expressing gratitude, not trying to exclude them from service."

Don't Ask Don't Tell discharged 259 men and 169 women last year, and has discharged thousands more over the years the policy has been in effect. In the end, passing the bill is only the first step in the process. Officially ending the DADT policy would also require Presidential approval and Pentagon certification that lifting the policy would not have a "negative effect on the military."

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