(Photo: AP Images / Alex Brandon)
Ninety-four organizations, representing 40 million people, have signed a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate, opposing the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits open homosexuality in the military.
The letter states that an attempt to repeal the 1993 law during the lame duck session is illegitimate and untimely.
“We are engaged in a war on many fronts. Our troops are in harm’s way in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This is no time to experiment with social engineering of the military,” the letter states.
The signatories – which include leaders from Liberty University, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Teen Mania Ministries, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the American Association of Christian Schools – stress in the letter that repealing DADT “will no doubt” cause service members to leave the military and also hamper recruitment.
“We cannot afford attrition or demoralization of our military in light of the wars we are facing in the Middle East, not to mention the looming threat of North Korea,” the letter says.
The U.S. Senate plans to vote this weekend on the House’s stand-alone "don’t ask, don’t tell" repeal bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced plans Thursday evening to withdraw a government spending measure in order to return Saturday to the issue of ending the ban on gays in the military for the third time this year.
Conservatives fear that Reid would attach the bill to an existing bill in order to bypass a filibuster attempt similar to that of Dec. 10. Instead, the Senate majority leader plans to again hold a vote to proceed with a floor debate on the bill. Reid is believed to have rallied together filibuster-proof majority needed to succeed. That majority consists of 57 members of the Senate’s Democratic as well as four Republicans – Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). All four Republicans oppose DADT.
However, of the four, only Collins voted against the filibuster last Friday. Democrats fell short of the 60 yeas need to move forward by three votes.
This is a reminder of how Democrats have historically failed to win key Republicans over in the repeal debate. In September, Snowe and Collins voted with the GOP against repeal, citing insufficient debate on the issue.
“We should all have the opportunity to review that report which is to be completed on December 1, as we re-evaluate this policy and the implementation of any new changes," Snowe expressed in a September statement.
Since then, the House has sponsored and passed a stripped down bill to repeal DADT by a 250-175 vote. Collins has now co-sponsored the Senate version of the stand-alone bill with Connecticut Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
No doubt, Reid and other repeal supporters hope to woo on-the-fence Republicans with Saturday’s debate.
"I am confident that we have more than 60 votes to end this law," Lieberman told The Washington Post.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins publicly denounced the House in a statement Thursday, stating, “Today, the lame-duck House of Representatives ignored the pleas of seasoned commanders like Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos and many of our men and women serving on the front lines and instead chose to placate a key liberal constituency, insistent homosexual activists.”
FRC Action Vice President Thomas McClusky told The Christian Post that they have been working since Wednesday to alert constituents and contact politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Other conservative organizations are also working feverishly to take action.
The Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod has sent emails to pastors and commissioned ministers to contact their elected leaders Saturday.
“We encourage you to let your elected leaders know that The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has a clear biblical position on this important issue,” the email urges.
Also, Rabbi Noson Leiter, executive director of Orthodox group Torah Jews for Decency, released a statement asking the religious community to ”urge their Senators, the GOP leadership, and swing Senators to do whatever it takes to stop the treasonous effort to force servicemen to betray their biblical beliefs.”
Leiter also cited Jewish law to state Jews could not comply with the “homosexualization” of the military. Lieberman is Jewish.
Republicans such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said they will hold fast to their opposition to the DADT repeal.
"We're in two wars, and I believe that right now would not be the right time to repeal it. That's my position, and I will hold it," McCain said during a Thursday interview with CNN.