Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Locals react to bill’s defeat

Legislation to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” failed in the Senate on Tuesday.

Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but Arkansas Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor joined all the Republicans in filibustering. The final vote was 56 in favor, 43 against.

The annual defense bill authorizes monetary appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense and also included the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the DREAM Act.

Florida’s Senators were divided on the vote, Republican Sen. George S. LeMieux voted against it and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted in favor.

Ricky Carter, vice president of Pride Student Union at UF, said the filibuster is not only stalling fiscal appropriations, it is blocking the amendment to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Carter added that he doesn’t think the focus of the filibuster should only be on the stalled “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. The DREAM Act, which is also included in the legislation, would allow illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to be eligible for a 6-year-long conditional path to citizenship if they completed a college degree or two years of service in the military.

 “I think this is basically painting a light for Republicans that they are anti-gay and that they’re anti-military essentially,” Carter said.

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was made law in 1993 during former President Bill Clinton’s first term. Under the law, the military’s ability to ask service members about their sexual orientation is limited.

Homosexuals are allowed to serve if they don’t talk about their sexual orientation, and if they refrain from homosexual acts.

“It’s been a hot button issue for quite some time,” Carter said.

The House approved a proposal to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” on May 27. The vote was 234 to 194, with 229 Democrats and 5 Republicans in favor.

“I think it’s a very problematic policy,” A.C. Stokes, director of LGBT affairs at UF, said. “I think it’s in the country’s best interest to repeal.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Seventy-five percent of Americans said they support openly gay people serving in the military, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by phone Feb. 4-8.

Kristin Klein, president of the UF College Democrats, said it is likely that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” won’t come up for a vote again until next year.

“I certainly hope this bill will pass in the future, but it is completely contingent upon the November mid-term elections,” Klein said. “We, as Democrats, must maintain a Congressional majority and if we could even pick up a few seats to make it a 60-40, that would be ideal.”

She said chances of getting the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy repealed would be higher if Democrats maintained the majority.

A former Santa Fe student and a lance corporal currently serving in the Marine Corps, who asked not to be identified, said that while it’s unfortunate that gay and lesbian soldiers can’t be open about their sexuality, it is necessary.

“It would directly weaken our military,” he said. “And at this time, in our country, we can’t afford to have a weak military.”

He said he has not encountered any problems due to the enforced “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I agree with the policy,” he said. “And I’m very happy it was successfully filibusterd.”

Editor's note on 09/27/10: The soldier's name was taken out of the original story.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.