House repeals gay military ban UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

House repeals gay military ban UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM

The House voted 232-180 to adopt rules to consider the stand-alone bill repealing the ban on open military service by gay people. It's probably close to a vote on the bill itself, which will follow an hour of debate. About a dozen Democrats were among those opposing the rule.

A vote against the rule was a vote against the bill. The cowardly Rep. Mike Ross, voted against the rule. So did Dr. No, Rep. John Boozman. Rep. Marion Berry did not vote, apparently still not back in Washington. An absence is the same as a no. Rep. Vic Snyder voted for the rule, which provided that no amendments would be considered.

UPDATE: The House has passed the repeal, 250-175, with 9 not voting. Fifteen Democrats opposed the repeal; 15 Republicans supported it. Now it goes to the Senate, where votes are sufficient to pass it, if supportive Republicans don't allow a filibuster and if there's time. Olympia Snowe has now joined Susan Collins in declaring they'll support the repeal in the Senate.

Of, course the spineless Mike Ross, desirous only of protecting his political viability, voted no (despite ample public polling that indicates even the majority of Arkansas has had enough of this discrimination.) Boozman a no; Snyder a yes; Berry again not voting. Ross' statement:

“I believe the current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is working for our Armed Forces and now is not the time to enact this change while our service men and women are in the middle of two ongoing wars. Several military commanders and generals strongly oppose repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and we simply cannot ignore those voices in this debate.

“I agree with one service member who was quoted in the Defense Department’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ survey when he said, ‘I believe this is not the time for us to make huge changes in the military. We are at war and our men and women overseas do not need any more distractions. This issue should be addressed at the appropriate time. That time is not now.’

Now, of course, is precisely the time to end a practice that has kept brave, capable (and many Arabic speaking) fighting men and women from serving for no good reason. Gay people are already serving. Their colleagues know it. It is a distraction only to those blinded by bigotry. The temptation is to compare Mike Ross with Strom Thurmond, but that might be a slander on Thurmond, who demonstrated an ability to change over time.

SECOND THOUGHT: Maybe critics are right. Maybe it is wrong to call Ross cowardly, though his voting record down through the years has always been spineless. Maybe he is simply a bigot.

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