So they took the not-quite-repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" out of the big bill, and made it a stand alone bill.
Challenge One: get the House to pass this new bill. Which they did, bless 'em, at even higher rates than before: 250-175.
Some cover might be provided by this new ABC/WaPo poll showing 77% of Americans support DADT repeal .
Now, it's back to the Senate. Harry Reid filed cloture and it will come up for a vote tomorrow (Saturday).
Amazingly, enough REpublican Senators agree that it might actually pass.
Whether the votes are in place no longer appears in doubt. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) endorsed repeal on Wednesday, and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was even stronger in his support yesterday morning. By mid-day, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) confirmed that she's a "yes" as well.But don't be complacent. The Republicans are still capable of great mischief. If your Senator is a Republican, even if they say they support repeal, they STILL need to hear from you to prevent their spine from wavering.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced late yesterday that he will be treated for prostate cancer today, but he also expects to be on the floor to support DADT repeal.
By my count, that's 61 votes, and if passage appears assured, I wouldn't be surprised if a few other Republicans jumped on the bandwagon when all is said and done.
Meanwhile, activist Dan Choi, removed from the Army for being gay, has been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown-- a reminder of the many human costs of this policy.
From a gay soldier:
The silence is the hardest part. I listen intently as my fellow soldiers talk about facing the reality of leaving their loved ones for a year and all the life events that will be missed. I don't talk about my own experience at all, because it's easier to come across as cold and removed than to risk slipping and mentioning that my loved one is of the same gender. For all I know, there are other gay soldiers in my unit, ones who understand what I'm going through. My gay friends in civilian life are supportive, but they don't often understand the military or soldiering. That camouflage is another burden I carry as I prepare to leave.....
]I'm reminded of the moral courage of my partner, who encourages me everyday to continue to put on that uniform; who believes that some things are worthy of our energies; who quietly plods along and prepares for my deployment as I do the same. I know as a soldier, it is the people we leave behind who bear the real brunt of deployment, who hold it all together, who send the care packages and pray for our returns. He'll have to do it on his own though. There are no support groups for the gay partners left back home.
In the meantime, gay soldiers who are still serving in silence will continue to put on our rucksacks and do what our country asks of us –- and wait.
Cartoon from Mike Luckovich