Santa Barbara, Calif. – Today, the Palm Center released a statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement of plans to bring the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 to the Senate floor for a cloture vote. Senator Reid stated, “And I’m likely going to move to my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act this evening. Allowing, as I will indicate at that time, time for amendments to that piece of legislation.”
“The U.S. Senate has a chance to make history with this cloture vote by including openly gay service in the defense bill and finally joining many of our NATO allies in Afghanistan who adopted inclusive policies years ago,” stated Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center.
“This has been a roller-coaster year for the debate over gays in the military,” stated Palm Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff. “The President set a course for repeal during his State of the Union address and this Senate vote may be the steepest hurdle of this 17-year fight. This is the President’s vote and his leadership can make the difference today.”
The Senate vote on cloture requires sixty votes to open debate on the bill. Any amendments offered during debate to strip “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal from the bill, would require fifty-one votes to succeed. Eventually, if the bill is to become law, the Senate and House versions must be reconciled, and then both chambers must hold final votes on identical bills.