Republicans on Tuesday successfully
blocked a key Senate vote on repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
Led by Arizona Senator John McCain, GOP
members united to filibuster an annual defense policy bill that
includes repeal of the 1993 law that bans gay troops from serving
“Today's Senate vote was a
frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law,” Aubrey Sarvis,
executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the
largest group lobbying for repeal, said in a statement.
“We lost because of the political
maneuvering dictated by the midterm elections. Let's be clear:
Opponents to repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' did not have the votes
to strike those provisions from the bill. Instead, they had the
votes to delay. Time is the enemy now,” he added.
Earlier, McCain accused President
Barack Obama of pandering to the gay community.
“November second is only a few days
away,” he said on the Senate floor. “And the president of the
United States made a commitment to the gay and lesbian community that
he would make the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' one of his
McCain also accused Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid of playing politics with the bill in a desperate
attempt to shore up votes as he faces a tough reelection fight
against tea party favorite Sharron Angle, who
is vehemently opposed to gay rights.
GOP members also said they objected to
Reid's plan to limit Republican amendments. The Democratic
leadership of the Senate “intends to shut Republicans out of the
debate,” Maine Senator Susan Collins said.
Sarvis said his group would lobby for a
second vote after the midterm elections, but held out little hope of
“We now have no choice but to look to
the lame duck session where we'll have a slim shot,” he said.