WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, expressed deep disappointment today with the failure of Senate leadership and moderate Republicans to reach an agreement that would have succeeded in breaking the filibuster on the motion to proceed on the defense authorization bill. This year’s defense authorization bill contains a provision that would finally enable the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
“Today’s vote is a failure of leadership on the part of those who have been duly elected to serve this nation and to put the best interests of the country ahead of partisan politics,” said Alexander Nicholson, founder and Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “The Senate could learn a good lesson from those who serve in uniform and who stand to benefit from proceeding to debate on this bill – serving this country means putting politics aside and getting the job done. It is simply inexcusable that this vote failed today.”
The votes to break the filibuster had previously been lined up, but last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to use an uncommon procedural privilege on the bill that eroded support for breaking the filibuster and guaranteed the vote’s failure. Intense lobbying and public pressure over the past week proved not to be enough to force either side to back down. The Senate will not likely take up the defense authorization bill again until after the mid-term elections in November.
For more information about Servicemembers United and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” please visit www.ServicemembersUnited.org.