DADT Vote Still a Possibility; Senator Reid May Put Motion Forward Tonight

After much doubt earlier this week, it looks like there may be hope for a speedy Senate vote on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after all. MSNBC highlights Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement on the Senate floor this morning. “I’m likely going to move my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act this evening.” The potential vote would follow several other bills scheduled to be voted on today at 4:00 PM EST, if they do not proceed to debate. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network released an update with the latest news on the potential vote, calling it “an opportunity to make the nation’s defense funding and our service members a high priority than tax cuts for millionaires.” The debate continues regarding whether there is enough support to move the bill forward, and both sides are hoping to pick up crucial votes. USA Today reports, for example, that this morning conservative Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas announced his intention to support the repeal of DADT. Pryor was one of only two Democrats siding with Senator John McCain in September to block repeal. (The September attempt garnered only 56 of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill past a Republican filibuster.) “I have now carefully reviewed all of the findings, reports, and testimony from our armed forces on this matter and I accept the Pentagon’s recommendations,” he stated. According to ABC News, Pryor joins Republican Senators Scott Brown and Susan Collins in changing his decision after seeing the Pentagon’s study. However, many Republicans’ votes for repeal are contingent upon bringing up the issue after other integral votes on government spending and tax cuts, says the Washington Post, as well as allowing enough time for fair debate. Therefore, Senate aides argue that if the procedural vote happens today, it is unlikely to pass. “We are very, very concerned at the moment that if it is considered today it will merely fail and that will be the end of the repeal,” said one Senate aide, who declined to be identified due to sensitive internal discussions about the subject. “We’re increasingly confident about the vote—if we can get to the vote in the proper process.” Regardless of today’s outcome, the SLDN is planning a rally outside the Senate at 12:00 PM on Friday called “Mission Incomplete: No Senate Vacation Until the Task is Finished,” in support of DADT’s repeal. Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement this morning, “Senators must not be allowed to hide any longer behind process, procedure, and tax cuts for the wealthy, while the discrimination continues. … With increased pressure … gays and lesbians will keep serving this nation – but this time with the integrity they so deserve.” GLAAD will continue to provide updates on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and urges the media to keep reflecting LGB service members in a fair and accurate light throughout these evolving headlines.