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 openly.

“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 priorities.”

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 a victory.

“We now have no choice but to look to the lame duck session where we'll have a slim shot,” he said.