Today, the House of Representatives in Washington took up a stand-alone bill that would repeal the military’s 234 year-old ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. Advocates for repeal pushed for the stand-alone legislation after the U.S. Senate failed to approve the Defense Authorization Bill that included the repeal.
The Massachusetts delegation all voted to go along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi in supporting the repeal, with the bill passing the House by a vote of 250 to 175. Outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and lame-duck Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) spearheaded the effort to approve the “privileged” legislation, a designation given to bills to expedite their passage with no amendment and limited or no debate. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) cast the final vote for repeal.
The privileged status also means that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) can bring the bill to a vote in the U.S. Senate at anytime. He would still need 60 votes to pass it, but again there are reports that he has the votes for the stand-alone bill.
General James Amos, the head of the Marine Corps, told reporters yesterday that a change in the policy could result in casualties. “When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting… mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives.”
Unfortunately, nothing was going to stop the repeal in the U.S. House, but there remains hope to stop it in the U.S. Senate. Here are your action steps:
- Call your congressman or congresswoman. CLICK HERE for their phone numbers. Express your outrage in the process that is forcing this bill through Congress and onto our courageous troops. Tell them that they should be working on true priorities such as the extension of the tax cuts and funding for counter-terrorism programs.
- Call Senator Scott Brown. Though he has indicated his support for the repeal, he has put qualifiers on that support. Remind him that the leaders of the Army, Air Force and Marines are opposed to repeal, and that there has not been enough study of the text of the bill, nor the full Pentagon report. He can be reached at 202.224.4543.