With a key vote on whether to end
debate on an annual defense policy bill that includes repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” scheduled for Tuesday, repeal advocates
are insistent the measure must pass before the midterm elections.
Republicans, led by Arizona Senator
John McCain, are expected to filibuster the bill when it comes to the
Advocates for repeal have been lobbying
moderate GOP members, including Senators Susan Collins and Olympia
Snowe of Maine, George V. Voinovich of Ohio and James Webb of
Virginia, to oppose the filibuster.
Lady Gaga headlined a rally in Portland
on Monday to call on Maine senators to support the measure.
“If you are not honorable enough to
fight without prejudice, go home,” she
told a crowd at the #4THE14K rally held near the University of
Collins, however, rejected the plea,
signaling on Monday that she's likely to support the filibuster. The
57-year-old politician said she objected to Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid's plan to limit GOP amendments, saying the Democratic
leadership of the Senate “intends to shut Republicans out of the
debate.” Similarly, Snowe, a former first lady of Maine, appeared
on track to side with her GOP colleagues.
Other Republicans have also seized on
the idea, saying Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is playing politics with the bill in a
desperate effort to shore up votes as he faces a tough reelection
fight against tea party favorite Sharron Angle, who
is vehemently opposed to gay rights.
“I understand that it's not that far
between now and elections, but to use a bill that has to do with
defending our national security interest when we're in two wars to
pursue a social agenda and a legislative agenda to galvanize voting
blocs I think is reprehensible,” McCain said.
Repeal advocates concerned that a GOP
takeover of Congress would kill the measure, insist repeal of “Don't
Ask” must be approved before the elections.
“The simple fact is, after the
election there would be reluctance to take on this issue,”
Christopher Neff, deputy executive director of the Palm Center, a
think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara that
lobbies for repeal, told the Washington Post. “”We've
lined up the stars. This needs to happen now.”