If it fails in the Senate - despite solid public support, endorsement from the Joint Chiefs, backing from the Defense Secretary, a big majority in the House and a 57 - 40 vote in the Senate - what does this say about gays having a fair chance in the legislative process? Because a group of deeply homophobic Republican Senators can derail any pro-gay legislation, the gay minority has essentially been shut out of the political process. David Link has a smashing column on this here.
In fact, whenever we work through the political and legislative process - as in California where the Legislature twice backed marriage rights only to have them vetoed by the governor and then sent to a referendum - we have a very hard time winning. Yes, Massachusetts and Connecticut and DC and Vermont are encouraging. But elsewhere we've been shut out. Primarily by Republicans.
It is precisely these Republicans who constantly tout the evil of using the courts to advance minority rights, and urge legislative action. But when we try to advance them with reason and patience and legislation, these same Republicans see to it that nothing gay-inclusive stands a chance in the Congress, even when majorities in both Houses favor it. Obama played DADT by the book, as he usually does. They still told him - and all gay servicemembers - to go pull a Cheney.