Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rescinding 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Buried with Ted Kennedy

Democrats bracing for backlash from homosexualists: “We have a very heavy, busy agenda and a few months left to do it,” [Senator] Durbin said in an interview recently. “So it may not be now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be soon.”

UPDATE 10/4/09: White House says now isn't the time (source: Associated Press)

-- From "Gay military question still up in air" by Manu Raju, Politico 9/2/09

When gay rights advocates march on Washington in October, they’ll be confronting a bleak political landscape in their effort to allow gays to openly serve in the military.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says the Senate is swamped and has little time on the schedule for this fight. The Pentagon brass is reticent and wants a go-slow strategy, while a majority of the rank and file in the military opposes changing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. With no Republican co-sponsors for a repeal, key moderate Democrats such as Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas remain uncommitted.

And the Senate’s patron saint of this cause, Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), died before being able to introduce long-promised bipartisan legislation to overturn "don’t ask, don’t tell."

None of this is promising for a gay rights movement that raised a ton of money for President Barack Obama and believed that their moment was now.

Leading opponents of the policy, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of the handful of openly gay members of Congress, said there’s a better shot next year to overturn a ban that is widely opposed by the general public. But he admits the bill could pass the House but have a more difficult time in the Senate.

And absent a big push from the Pentagon and Obama, key Senate Democrats are signaling that there is little appetite to anger some of their more socially conservative voters at a time when election forecasters are signaling a tough 2010 election cycle for the party.

And Kennedy’s death — already felt in the health care debate — has reverberated in the gay-rights community. Over the years, he’s been on the forefront in advocating for bills sought by gay-rights activists, pushing for legislation to prevent hate crimes against gays and bills to prohibit employers from discriminating against homosexuals. Kennedy led the opposition in 1996 to the Defense of Marriage Act, pushed for expanded programs to curtail HIV/AIDS and wanted to play the lead role in the Senate to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.