In an almost unprecedented push to passage after the Republican filibuster of one week ago, the House of Representatives, driven by a bill sponsored by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Ct.) rushed through and passed Congress and is headed to the floor of the Senate on Saturday, December 18, 2010 which could repeal the despised military policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as a Civil Rights Act.
The Republican filibuster of the Defense Spending Act with the repeal contained in the language has turned the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into a monumental Civil Rights issue, one which threatens the foundation of the Republican Party’s landslide victory in November and promises to invigorate a new era of LGBT Civil Rights Movements in the next decade.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, often a pundit for the extreme right-wing conservative issues despite his former position as the Vice Presidential running mate for Al Gore in the controversial Presidential Election of 2000, has emerged as the premiere spokesman and statesman for LGBT rights in the United States Senate. His timely endorsement and wording of this repeal measure might well cement his reinstatement in the Democratic Party from which he became estranged in his re-election campaign of 2006 when he lost his parties confidence and the primary but won re-election through running on the Independent Party ticket.
Lieberman appears to be trying to undo the damage that his endorsement and vote of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell passage in 1993 originally did under the Clinton administration.
Lieberman’s motive’s still remain unclear as he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and has repeatedly stated that marriage rights are reserved between “a man and a woman” but defends the rights of states to choose domestic partnership laws for the LGBT community which still constitutes second-class citizens rights.
In 1994 Lieberman voted for a proposed amendment to the Secondary Education Reauthorization Act (ESEA) by the bigoted team of Bob Smith (R-NH) and the late Jesse Helms (R-NC) that would deny funding to any school that "implement or carry out a program or activity that has either the purpose or effect of encouraging or supporting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle". Luckily, the proposed amendment failed even in a right-wing majority Senate and House.
Lieberman also voted against domestic partnership benefits for same-sex partners for employees in the District of Columbia.
Senator Lieberman’s views are difficult to assess but his sudden change has become a welcome relief to the bad news of last week’s filibuster by Republicans to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) who promises to have gay and lesbian members of the military sitting in the Senate gallery until Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed on Saturday.
In a new and more desperate tactic Saturday morning Republican pundits tied the success of President Obama’s START nuclear disarmament treaty as well as the DREAM Act, which grants citizenship to the American born children of illegal immigrants to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.In one of the most ludicrous exchanges heard in any press conference since Senator Jesse Helms passed away, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn.) said, “it poisons the well”; the inference being that the Republicans will shut down any and all support for programs the President supports if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell moves forward which only proves their extreme bigotry, hatred and fear of the LGBT community.
On Friday, December 17th, President Obama assured Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that either way the vote goes in the Senate on Saturday he has instructed United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to remove all resistance to the Federal court rulings in place that have already been adjudicated saying that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unconstitutional. This would effectively remove the stay order placed upon the California ruling and force the military to comply with the removal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and reinstate a multitude of armed forces members who were wrongfully discharged under DADT who are still otherwise fit to serve and also opens the military up to civil suits over the wrongful discharge of tens of thousands of gays and lesbians since its implementation in 1993 particularly during the George Bush administration when the policy was almost completely ignored and homosexual discharges were pursued as if the policy didn’t exist at all.
LGBT-Today will be covering this story as it unfolds and will be covering the Senate vote.
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