The big mo’: state of play on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal

December 16, 2010 at 8:28 am 58 comments

By Adam Bink

“Woke up this morning with my mind set on freedom…”- Sweet Honey in the Rock

I did indeed, as the momentum is with us on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and it’s increasingly likely we will put this thing to bed. Reasons:

  • If you missed it, yesterday the House voted to repeal the law, 250-175 with 9 absent. That’s 16 more than in the May vote, including 10 more Republicans. Those Republicans included such conservative luminaries as Jeff Flake of Arizona, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Todd Platts also of Pennsylvania. Not to mention, Democratic Reps. Baird, Cardoza, Carolyn McCarthy, and Woolsey missed the vote- all of whom voted yea in May- so the actual number is at least 254, not including other potential Republicans or the lone remaining Dem who may have switched positions but missed the vote. If you’re like to read the play by play, live-blogging and some video can be found here. More video and notes can also be found here. Roll call can be found here.
  • Harry Reid’s office, following the vote, told Ed O’Keefe at The Washington Post he would bring the bill up for consideration next week.
  • After the vote, myself, Rick Jacobs and Courage Campaign held a nationwide conference call with Rep. Patrick Murphy, the lead bill sponsor. A remarkable 779 people registered for the call, far outstripping expectations (and forcing us to get another conference line on short notice). Andy Kelley live-tweeted the call here if you missed it. On the call, Rep. Murphy emphasized the importance of calling Senators ASAP and keeping the pressure on. You can make calls and leave reports of what happened here. Rest assured I keep tabs on the messages left so we can figure out who the most important targets are, so every report you leave is helpful both to me and to the rest of the Courage team as we ask people to take action around the country.
  • In no coincidence, Sen. Olympia Snowe announced her support for repeal. That brings us to 61 Senators who have publicly said they support repeal of this statute. In the Republicans’ case, there are four who have said they will actually vote to do so once tax legislation and funding measures are complete.
  • Which brings us to the news that the tax legislation passed the Senate yesterday and is apparently set to pass the House. Which clears one roadblock from the track. It’s not clear which funding measures Republicans are insisting move before they will vote to repeal DADT, but DOD authorization is one. In which case, there was agreement between Sens. McCain and Levin yesterday to move the DOD bill. Given that the measure always passes overwhelmingly, the clamor in House debate yesterday to get it done and from external groups like IAVA, and DADT repeal is now out of the bill, I expect this can move fairly quickly.
  • The Senate voted to open debate on the new START treaty yesterday, which is also a good sign that another piece of legislation given priority by the Administration can be moved off the plate. It’s been hoped by many, including me, that DADT repeal would be given priority, but it’s a good sign that there’s movement on this bill.
  • Of course, it’s no guarantee that the key swing Republicans who said they will vote to repeal will actually do so once we get into the nitty-gritty, plus from reading call reports from many of you, several Senators have still said they haven’t read the text of the bill, which is why our target list remains the same below, updated with notes. It also means our calls are working, as seen by Sen. Snowe’s movement. But, note that Sen. Snowe’s statement yesterday said merely she supports repeal- it didn’t say she would commit to voting for the Lieberman/Collins bill or anything about timing. Having watched this show for a long time, people leave themselves wiggle room, as Sen. Collins once did. So let’s hit those phones again. Ask the Senator to support the Lieberman/Collins bill.  Leave reports in the comments and here.

Likely yea votes:

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665 (supports repeal, but mixed signals on the stand-alone bill)

Murkowski’s office released a firm statement of support today, so I’m removing her from the target list.

Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344  (supports repeal, but has not made a position clear yet on the stand-alone bill)

Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543 (supports repeal, but has not made a position clear yet on the stand-alone bill, and won’t vote yea until tax and funding bills are done, according to statement)

Good shot:

Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954 (no position, but mixed signals on repeal)

Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814 (no position, but gave hints he may support repeal)

George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353 (no position)

Somewhat likely:

Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324 (no position)

Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721 (no position)

Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854 (no position)

Update: I’m now removing Murkowski from the target list, as her press office released the following statement:

“Sen. Murkowski will support a stand-alone repeal of the DADT law,” said Murkowski spokesman Michael Brumas. “With the tax package out of the way, and legislation to fund the government on a glide path to passage, Sen. Murkowski will vote to move to DADT when it is brought to the floor.”

That’s about as firm as it gets. Great job everyone!

Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

House votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; Courage Campaign to host conf. call with Rep. Patrick Murphy The four words you’ll rarely hear me say

58 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Printing this list so I can make my calls today and every day until DADT is repealed. I may even call Senators McLame and Burr again.

    • 2. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:40 am

      Good idea…lead the way! subs

  • 3. Kevin S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:35 am

    According to TPM, repeal has the “unconditional” support of Brown, Snowe and Murkowski.

    • 4. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:43 am


      • 5. Ann S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

        Woot, woot!

        • 6. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:52 am

          I’m stoked! :D

          • 7. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

            But it isn’t unconditional. They still want the tax bill to pass congress as well as another bill or so. But those *should* make it through, so their votes seem likely at this point. Well, at least above 50%.

    • 8. adambink  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:58 am

      I actually love TPM, but (1) they’ve been weird this morning, reporting on this and over Twitter that there are 60 votes when that’s been the case since Murkowski announced on December 8th (2) Using the word “unconditional” is a serious stretch with Brown.

      So I would take all this with a grain of salt.

      That said, Murkowski’s statement is great.

    • 9. Rebecca in Chicago  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:22 am

      Boston Globe reports that Brown will vote for the standalone bill, according to his spokesperson!

      • 10. adambink  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:31 am

        See BK’s comment above.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

    “Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good.” ~Megan (“But I’m a Cheerleader”)

    & now for a cheer for the Senators….No more…D…A…D…T…our Soldiers deserve Equality….They sacrificed for you & me….let them serve with integrity….Don’t be an ingrate…stop the hate…Respect our Soldiers…L..G…B..T… & Straight…..

    WOOOOOO!!!…YEAH!!!…Let’s go Patriots!!!!…..(does toe-touch)….. ; ) …..Ronnie

    • 12. anonygrl  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

      Work those pom-poms my friend!!

    • 13. Kathlene  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

      I love that movie!! <3

    • 14. JonT  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

      …(“But I’m a Cheerleader”)

      What a coincidence, that movie just arrived from netflix today :)

      And subbing/hoping for final freaking closure on DADT!

    • 15. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:58 am

      They have a high school cheer team here at Incirlik Air Base… hm… ;)

  • 16. Alan E.  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Hi everyone! Been super busy with work and finals. What have I missed? Anything good?

    Kathleen, if you already posted a link for the photos from last Monday, can you email it to me please?

    • 17. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  December 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

      lol…just “everything” : ) welcome back!

    • 18. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Alan, haven’t yet. Sooooo behind in all my responsibilities right now. Will get to it asap. Hugs.

      • 19. Ann S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:09 am

        I’m looking forward to seeing those, too!

  • 20. StevenJ  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Richard Lugar: I tried calling his DC office. Voicemail greeting says mailbox is full.

  • 21. Stan in West Virginia  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Hey all you great trialtracker folks,
    please go to the Charleston Gazette’s Reader Survey– halfway down the page on the left.

    This newspaper is the widest read in the state and the poll has it about 50 yea 50 nay. Please vote!!!

    Stan in West Virginia

    • 22. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

      I used to deliver both the Gazette and the Daily Mail when I was in high school.

      • 23. Alan E.  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:52 am

        I helped my neighbor deliver the Daily Mail when I go home from school. Had to walk uphill 3 times on the route.

        • 24. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

          Must have been one of the routes near either McKinley Junior High School, or near Highlawn Elementary. I had the Gazette routes on Abney, Spring and Washington Streets from Wilson Avenue to Kanawha Terrace (one route) and the hills around St. Albans Junior High School. I also had the SAJHS route for the Daily Mail, as well as delivering the Daily Mail on College Hill. My days in high school started at 0200 hours and I was lucky to be in bed asleep before 2200 hours. Needless to say, I slept nearly all day on Sundays after I got back from the routes.

    • 25. aaron in san fran  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:41 am

      52 yes to 48% no. I voted. :)

      • 26. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

        Surprisingly small lead… Hm. Especially for being on this site.

    • 27. JonT  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Voted too, still 52% yes, 48% no.

    • 28. ChrisB  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:46 am

      I voted, and also sent the link to PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog ( If you aren’t familiar, he writes a lot about the evolution/creationism debate (he’s a biology professor) but is definitely an ally in this issue. He periodically links to internet polls and unleashes his horde of readers to go and vote. His point is that such polls are inherently unscientific, as the population that responds is self-selected, but we all know people look at them anyway, and I thought if there was a massive shift in the right direction it might help shake some of the wax out of Sen. Manchin’s ears.

      I don’t know if he’ll do it since it’s out of his normal purview, but I thought I’d give it a shot.


  • 29. Stan in West Virginia  |  December 16, 2010 at 9:58 am

    • 30. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Done. Thanks for pointing this out.

      • 31. Ann S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:11 am


        • 32. fiona64  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

          Et moi aussi.


    • 33. nightshayde  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:28 am


      • 34. Ed Cortes  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:40 am

        53 yes to 47 no

        • 35. Sagesse  |  December 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm


          54 yes 46 no

  • 36. Sagesse  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Still one step at a time. Yesterday = one giant step.

  • 37. Ben  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Brown has stated he will support the standalone bill:

    • 38. adambink  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:31 am

      No, he said he will support a clean bill, and if the tax and spending measures are done.

  • 39. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:56 am

    For anyone interested, the video of the Catholics for Equality event “Catholic Family Conversation on LGBT Issues with Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher” is now available at their site:

    • 40. Ann S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Thanks, Kathleen, I do want to see that (if my stomach can take it).

      Not this morning, though. Work calls.

    • 41. JonT  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Yay! Thanks.

      • 42. JonT  |  December 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm

        Well, that was an interesting video to watch.

        What was also interesting was the difference in the way Maggie and Andrew acted while the other was speaking. While Maggie was speaking, Andrew sat impassively and listened.

        While Andrew was speaking, Maggie was shaking her head, rolling her eyes, and otherwise showing her obvious contempt for Andrew’s viewpoints.

        Of course, I am biased, but Maggie’s arguments were the standard issue fare. It was interesting how she seemed to distance herself from Marinelli’s comments, and even some of her own. Not disputing them (“Homosexuals are intrinsically disordered”), but not owning them either. Tsk Tsk.

        One of the funniest parts in my opinion was when Andrew was talking about how he used to be an altar boy. Paraphrasing: “I was surprised no one messed with me, considering how attractive I was at the time”. :) Maggie was not amused, everyone else laughed.

        Anyhow, it was an interesting exchange, and the audience did seem to side generally with Andrew.

        Thanks for posting the link Kathleen.

    • 43. Sagesse  |  December 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks for posting, Kathleen. I was struck by how condescending and tone deaf Maggie was. Andrew Sullivan is a big boy, and he can take it, but I felt… insulted… on behalf of all the people she was insulting. She had no sympathy for the questioner who came from a loving, non-traditional home, and didn’t appreciate having her family termed ‘substandard’.

      Looking forward to the day when we don’t have this conversation anymore, and no one will give her a podium.

  • 44. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I’ve uploaded some of the photos the day of oral arguments at the 9th Circuit in an album on facebook:

    The above is supposed to be a public link and supposedly you don’t have to be on facebook to view it. But I’m not sure if that works. I have set the album to “everyone” so anyone on facebook should definitely be able to view it w/out being a fb friend of mine.

    I’ll be adding more as I get permission from some of the individuals in the photos to post their pictures.

    • 45. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Thanks, Kathleen! We all love your hard work. :)

      • 46. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:10 am

        You’re welcome… and glad to be of service.

        Will someone who is not a facebook subscriber let me know if that link works for you?

        • 47. JonT  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:23 am

          I don’t do FB and it worked for me… :)

          • 48. Kathleen  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

            Great! I’ll be adding more. So check back in a day or two.

        • 49. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

          I have facebook, but it took me right to the pictures without having to sign in on FB. That just goes to show that you are better at links than I am. WOOT!

    • 50. Ann S.  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Thanks for posting those!

  • 51. BK  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Holy crap. Not meaning to look overly optimistic, but this might work! Imagine what a wonderful Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) present that would be for the American people! If only people stick to their word…

  • 52. Bob  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

    late to the effort, but what i heard from the few aides I spoke to is that their senators still have not seen written copies of stand alone bill… The aides I asked had not seen it,

    Still think Anonygrls suggestion to fax it around may be a good one, get it to them, then call to make sure they read it, then we may get a response about postiion……???

    Senator Bond’s aide was the only one, that asked first where I was calling from,,, she said they are only taking calls from constituents at the present time, I said I understood, but could she just relay a messge for me,,,,

    My message today to all those I was able to contact was, that I am calling from Canada, as a neighbour I am concerned that the United States by enforcing this p0olicy is in violation of human rigthts act of the United Nations, As a neighbout we are watching to see which way the senator votes to erase this human rights violaiton……

    I think that is all I can do for the present, I agree that it is up to constituents to move their senators along towards a yes vote for humanity….. Come on America,,,,,you can do this…

  • 53. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:49 am

    So with Collins as a co-sponsor and Murkowski on board, we need Snowe to clarify her position on this specific bill. If she’s on, even if Manchin defects. If Manchin has a change of heart (didn’t he say something about voting yes if he were the 60th vote?) we’re already there. But don’t stop pushing, don’t give an inch.

    • 54. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 16, 2010 at 11:51 am

      Edit: I meant “If she’s on, we win, even if Manchin defects.”

  • 55. book in tracy  |  December 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I wonder, with all the Republican rant agaimst Gays in the military, just how many of those Reps and Senators have served? I would hope they have some actual experience in and knowledge of serving with ‘us’–military or at home. Any chance there is a tally of who has and hasn’t? Any word on ‘war stories’ that may have turned them against us? just wondering. . .it’s so easy to dislike what you don’t know!

  • 56. Bob  |  December 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    from watching the hous vote live, you can see the Republicans who stood and spoke against DADT repeal, are a fringe group the same ilk as NOM or religious right, their arguments were irrational, based in unfounded fears,

    The actual speaker for the repubs, the one calling the others to speak, was very interesting in the later media scrum, he admitted he had not made a personal decision about the issue, based on his own feelings, he wss keeping that out of the mix, he also surprizingly said if DADT was repaled his own personal life would not change, whch flies in the face of his statement that the change would harm our military efforts, and ultimately our safety as a country……duh??

    it was pretty clear from the arguments they made that it is only a fringe group of old dinosaurs who are afraid of change……that are holding America back….their male dominance and arrogance showed so clearly in their attempts at holding the military out as being above and beyond any laws . and their pitch for preserving that…embarassing to see……

    • 57. Chris From CO  |  December 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      I agree with you their ideas from the repub. side were crazy. My favorite only because it showed their ideas best was all great nations that excepted gays to serve openly arnt around. He couldn’t say who he was talking about, but there where great countries that fell because of the gays. I was laughing when he was done talking.

  • 58. Rhie  |  December 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Alive…Dead…Alive…Dead and now alive again. This has more lives than my cat.

    Not that I’m complaining.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Support the Prop 8 Trial Tracker

Connect with us

Get to know your fellow Prop 8 Trial Trackers on Facebook.

Please send tips to

Follow us on Twitter @EqualityOnTrial

Sign-up for updates on the Prop 8 trial, including breaking-news alerts.


TWITTER: Follow us @EqualityOnTrial

Share this

Bookmark and Share

SITE STATS (by Wordpress)

  • 4,585,332 views of the Tracker and counting as of today...