Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday pledged a vote on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the controversial policy barring gays from serving openly in the military, as early as next week.
Maybe it was Lady Gaga’s Tweet earlier today urging fans to call the senator and demand a vote that finally forced the issue. I’d guess that wasn’t the deciding factor though, as DADT has been on the agenda for some time now and was moved slightly higher last week after a court threw out the ban. But Reid replied to Gaga via Twitter that a vote is coming next week. “Anyone qualified to serve this country should be allowed to do so,” Reid said. (He also urged her to “Come back to Vegas soon!”)
Reid said in a more formal statement that a measure to repeal the 17-year-old policy would be included in the Defense Authorization bill. “We will finally send a loud and clear message that everyone who steps up to serve our country should and will be welcomed regardless of sexual orientation,” said Reid.
Senate removal of the ban would also take some of the pressure off the Obama administration on the issue. While Obama has pledged to end the policy, his administration has defended it in court on the argument that Congress should determine military policy. A federal judge ruled last week that the policy violates service members’ Fifth Amendment rights to due process and First Amendment rights to free speech.