So, we celebrated yesterday and now there’s more work to do.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) want to try for a third time to repeal the military’s longstanding law and policy on homosexuality. (First vote was in September; the second vote was yesterday).
This time they want the repeal as a stand-alone bill, not attached to any other legislation. It’s not a bad strategy if they squeeze it into the lame-duck schedule, considering some of the moderate Republicans like Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) who voted “no” yesterday did so because they just wanted more time to debate and offer amendments, not because they oppose a repeal. Considering the repeal as a stand-alone bill would give them that.
One other lawmaker who may flip his vote with Brown and Murkowski on a stand-alone bill is Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who voted against the repeal yesterday. Word is that he was contacted by numerous West Virginians, which I’m sure helped sway him, and he should be thanked for his vote. But right after the vote, he apologized and said that “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be repealed “in the near future” and that his vote against the repeal was mostly due to “timing.”
Which brings up an issue that we often face with our elected officials: Do we praise them for sometimes doing the right thing for the wrong reason? I say yes. In matters of great importance, like when God’s design for sexuality is trampled underneath the demands for acceptance and endorsement of homosexuality, or when preborn lives are at stake, or when religious freedom is drowned out, we praise lawmakers for taking even baby steps in the right direction. Even when those baby steps were motivated by political calculations. And in the end, it never hurts to be polite.
So, knowing that we likely have another “don’t ask, don’t tell” battle in the future, take the time to say “thank you” to your senators for what they did yesterday.