After a contentious debate, the Senate failed to get enough votes to move toward repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy banning gays from openly serving in the military. The proposal, which was tied to Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill spending $726 billion to fund the Pentagon, was stonewalled by Republicans who were joined by Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor from Arkansas in voting "no." Of particular note in the aftermath of the vote are two videos of opposing senators, who made at times testy or impassioned cases for their side.
Senator John McCain, as he has been known to do in the past, had no qualms tussling with reporters over the "fact" that the military does not actively seek out members of the military who are gay. The reporters in the room, who clearly did not agree, could barely get in a word in as McCain repeatedly emphasized "I know the military very well" and it is not policy to find out one's sexual orientation. Meanwhile, on the Senate floor, Senator Al Franken shared an emotional anecdote (at one point appearing to choke up) about when he told a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" joke on a USO tour and was met by a positive response from gay female soldiers who everyone on the base "knew" were out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.