In a major setback for gay-rights groups, Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a vote on a bill that would have repealed the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Supporters of the bill fear they have lost what may have been their last chance for many years to overturn the 17-year-old law, as the job will only get tougher if Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in the November midterms. "The whole thing is a political train wreck," said Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights. Where does the ban on gays in the military go from here? (Watch the repeal get blocked)
Reid messed up, now we're stuck: "Don't ask, don't tell" is "here to stay," says Jeb Golinkin at FrumForum, and it's all Harry Reid's fault. Some Republicans would have voted to let gays serve openly, but Reid put his "political needs" first and attached a measure to the bill offering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, hoping to win over Hispanic voters in his re-election bid.
"How Reid killed the 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal"
Senators may have one more shot this year: We'll hear plenty about this in the midterm campaign, say the editors of The Washington Post, with Democrats accusing Republicans of "a spiteful move to prevent fairness in the military" while Republicans say Democrats sabotaged a defense bill by polluting it with an "extreme liberal agenda." But after the Pentagon makes its report on the impact of repealing the ban on December 1, moderate Republicans, including Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, might abandon the filibuster and pave the way for a vote.
"With 'don't ask,' fairness will have to wait"
The courts will likely act if Congress won't: Regardless of what the Senate does, says Ed O'Keefe, also in The Washington Post, the courts are moving fast toward getting rid of the ban. A judge in California has called "don't ask, don't tell" unconstitutional, and another "federal judge said he plans to rule on Friday" whether to reinstate Margaret Witt, an Air Force flight nurse discharged for being gay. "Stay tuned."
"'Don't ask, don't tell': The legal options"