Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New
York, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Mark Udall of Colorado have
renewed calls to end “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that
bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly, this year.
The three senators are urging Congress
to act during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.
Lieberman, an independent, sponsored
the measure to repeal the law in the Senate Armed Services Committee
last spring. After the committee agreed to tuck repeal language
inside the annual defense bill, Republicans, led by Arizona Senator
John McCain, killed the bill on the Senate floor with a filibuster.
McCain has already pledged to block a
second repeal effort.
“The Senate should act immediately to
debate and pass a defense authorization bill and repeal 'Don't Ask,
Don't Tell' during the lame-duck session,” the three senators said
in a joint statement. “The Senate has passed a defense bill for 48
consecutive years. We should not fail to meet that responsibility
now, especially while our nation is at war. We must also act to put
an end to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy that not only
discriminates against but also dishonors the service of gay and
lesbian service members.”
Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is feeling the
pressure to act from both sides. McCain is reportedly urging the
Democrat to strip the repeal language from the defense bill, a move
the Obama administration opposes. “The White House opposes any
effort to strip 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' from the National Defense
Authorization Act,” Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications
director, said in a statement.
Repeal advocates believe the lame-duck
session is their last shot at repeal before a Republican takeover of
the House, and increasing numbers in the Senate, in January.
GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to
reinstate a lower court's injunction prohibiting the military from
enforcing the policy as a government appeal wends its way through the
courts. Justice Anthony Kennedy has asked the federal government
to weigh in on the case before Wednesday.