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Senate Blocks Open
Homosexuality in Military

BY TOM STRODE                                                                                                         
©2010 Baptist Press

Democrats in the U.S. Senate failed Tuesday in their effort to bring to the floor for consideration a military authorization bill that would overturn bans on open homosexuals serving in the armed forces and abortions in military facilities.

The 40 Republican senators present for the [September 22] roll call stood together in opposition to invoking cloture on the annual Department of Defense authorization measure. They were joined by Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas, as well as Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid's vote was a procedural move that will enable him to bring the bill back up later. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was not present for the vote.

Invoking cloture, which overcomes a delaying tactic known as a filibuster and brings legislation to the Senate floor, requires 60 votes. The roll call was 56-43 in favor of cloture, with all 54 Democrats and two independents supporting the move.

Supporters of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" believe its reversal will curtail the religious liberty of those in the military whose opposition to homosexual conduct is based on the Bible. They also say it will undermine military readiness, cohesion, privacy, recruitment and retention.

"Along with millions of social conservatives, I am delighted that the Senate has turned back a substantial challenge to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "The military is not a social experiment. The military is organized and designed to win wars. Making the military a lab for social innovation and experiment in a time of two wars is foolhardy and dangerous. I am grateful that enough senators understand this and have defeated this latest challenge to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.
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