Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and
President Barack Obama are backing a plan to reconsider repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 17-year-old law that bans gay and
bisexual troops from serving openly, after Thanksgiving.
Groups lobbying for repeal, including
the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN) and the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), were
told of the plan during a Wednesday meeting attended by key Senate
leadership and administration officials.
Backers of repeal have been urging
lawmakers to act during the lame-duck session before Republicans
take over the House and increase their numbers in the Senate next
year, making repeal less likely.
Arizona Senator John McCain, the
loudest critic of repeal in the Senate, successfully blocked an
earlier effort to repeal the law that has ended the military careers
of more than 13,000 service members, and has promised to filibuster a
McCain's strident opposition to repeal
prompted Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate
Armed Services Committee, to
earlier say that he would consider removing the repeal language from
the defense spending bill – a move certain to end debate on
repeal for the foreseeable future.
While repeal is far from certain, at
least one Republican appears to be coming around.
Senator Susan Collins on Monday joined Senator Joe Lieberman
(I-Conn.) in asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to release a
report on repeal of the law before its scheduled December 1 release.
of the report leaked to the press show that more than 70 percent of
troops are okay with repeal of the policy. Several senators have
previously voiced objections to moving forward until they have had a
chance to read the military's findings. McCain
called the report flawed and asked for a new study.