The repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which could endanger religious freedom in the military, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Its success or failure depends upon whether it is scheduled for a Senate vote as Congress comes to a close.
On Dec. 15 the House voted 250 to 175 to repeal the policy barring open homosexuals from military service.
The Senate apparently has enough votes to overcome a filibuster, with Republican Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) supporting the policy change, the Boston Globe reports.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has vowed to call for a vote before the Senate adjourns.
“We are very quickly running out of days in this Congress. The time for week-long negotiations on amendments and requests for days of debate is over,” he said, characterizing the policy as “discriminatory” and calling on Republican senators to join in the vote.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll claims that about eight in ten Americans favor allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military.
Marine Corps commandant Gen. James F. Amos has opposed changes to the policy, noting Marine combat veterans’ beliefs that repealing the policy would harm unit cohesion. He also suggested open homosexuals could cause distractions and risk units in combat.
Some military chaplains have been told by their superiors they should leave the military if they have problems of conscience as a result of the policy change.
Daniel Blomberg of the Alliance Defense Fund, a repeal opponent, told CNA in November that chaplains are concerned that religious faith “will be discriminated against in favor of the new political correctness that will be imposed by the Obama administration.”
Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy J. Broglio has opposed repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In an October interview with CNA, he warned of a “latent” danger to religious liberty in the agenda advanced by some people in the name of tolerance.
“(T)here is an agenda to force everyone to accept as normal and positive behavior that is contrary to the moral norms of many religions, including the Catholic Church,” he commented, voicing concern that teaching morality or forming young people in their faith could be misconstrued as intolerance.