Republicans Block DADT Repeal
Showdown draws focus to military's ban on homosexuals ahead of midterm elections.
A move by Senate Democrats to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and let gays serve openly in the armed services was blocked by Republicans Tuesday.
Democrats rolled out their big guns ahead of the vote.
Eric Alva, one of the first U.S. warriors badly hurt in the Iraq War called for an end to the ban.
Alva got a medical discharge, but since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" took effect in 1993, 13,000 other men and women have been kicked out of the military.
"It's long past time to repeal this policy which is both unjust, un-American and extremely hurtful to the effectiveness of our military," Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman told his colleagues before the vote.
Still, Republicans were able to block the repeal.
John McCain led the opposition.
"We would be ignoring the views of the troops, casting aside the professional military advice given by each of the four service chiefs," he said.
Just before President Obama awarded a Medal of Honor Tuesday the Marine he's chosen to keep in command the Corps said "don't let gays serve openly, yet".
"We're not so sure what the impact would be on an all volunteer force," General James Amos said.
A bigger blow came from Republican Susan Collins, who backs repeal, but not to help Democrats win more gay votes.
"Now is not the time to play politics simply because an election is looming in a few weeks," Collins said before voting 'no'.
Democrats are vowing to fight on.
They say a majority of Senators, and polls indicate, most Americans, want "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealed.