Republican Senator Olympia Snowe declared today she would support repeal of
the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell'' policy against openly gay members
serving in the armed services.
“After careful analysis of the comprehensive report compiled by the
Department of Defense and thorough consideration of the testimony provided
by the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
the service chiefs, I support repeal of the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' law,”
Snowe said in a statement to the Portland Press-Herald.
Snowe is known as a champion of veteran's issues and has served on the
Senate Armed Services Committee, where she was the first female senator to
chair the Subcommittee on Seapower, which oversees the Navy and Marine
She joins her Republican counterpart from Maine, Susan Collins, in the
effort to repeal the policy. Collins and Joseph Lieberman, independent of
Connecticut, have filed a stand-alone bill in the Senate to end "don't ask"
after the Senate failed to pass the repeal as part of a larger defense
Her decision helps Collins build momentum for the repeal, although time is
short and demands for action on other bills are high as the Senate's
lame-duck session winds down. With Collins and Snowe, Republicans Lisa
Murkowski of Alaska, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and John Ensign of
Nevada have signaled they would vote for repeal. All the senators who caucus with
the Democrats back repeal, except West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
The push toward repeal gained a boost today when the House voted 250 to 175
to end the policy, potentially setting the stage for a Senate vote on the
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Newton and one of the House's few
openly gay members, was allowed to gavel the vote to a close. In a floor
speech, he said it was ‘‘bigoted nonsense [that] ‘‘the presence of someone
like me will so destabilize our brave young men and women that they will be
unable to do their duty.’’
Frank’s nine colleagues from Massachusetts, all Democrats, joined him
in voting for repeal.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.