Gay-rights advocates spiced things up at a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning by protesting Senator John McCain and his vow to filibuster a vote on a bill that includes the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" -- the United States military's subtle hint to homosexual soldiers that they better stay in the closet or get the boot.
So much for McCain's "coming along" on gay rights.
Five protesters from the gay-rights group GetEqual reportedly sat in on the meeting and held signs protesting McCain for more than an hour as witnesses testified before the committee.
One of the signs read "Senate McCain, repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. It's not too late to change your legacy."
A full-Senate vote on the bill has been scheduled for Tuesday, but not if McCain and his filibuster have anything to do with it.
During this year's GOP primary, McCain took a firm stance in opposition to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," probably out of fear that he was being out-conserva-tized by his opponent J.D. Hayworth (the far right, as you may have read in a New Times' feature this week, tends to frown upon all things gay).
When your GOP opponent in a conservative state goes so far as to say letting gay people get married will lead to men marrying horses, you gotta throw a few homosexuals under the bust just to compete.
But in 2006, McCain told MSNBC's Chris Mathews the following in regards to "don't ask, don't tell":
And I understand the opposition to it, and I've had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen are both in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." However, they prefer that the change wait until the military completes a review, due in December. It includes surveys of troops and their families to figure out the best way to make the change.
We can only assume that once the review is complete and the military brass gives the OK for the repeal, McCain will change his tune. Or not -- depending on how conservative he needs to look that day.
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