Vote to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell policy fails in the Senate

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PHOENIX - The policy dealing with homosexuals in the military, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, was upheld Tuesday and the Senate voted to note even discuss the issue.

One veteran says he was discharged after 7 years of service. Allen Howard says, “My disqualifying factor is that I'm gay. That's it. Don't ask don't tell needs to go away.”

Howard says he was hoping it would happen Tuesday so he could go back to serving his country but instead other veterans, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, voted against it.

McCain says, “What I am opposed to is bringing the defense bill before the defense department has concluded its survey of our men and women in uniform.”

That survey is not due back until December. In the meantime, republican Sen. Susan Collins supports the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. She says, “I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's only fair. I think we should welcome the service of these individuals who are willing and capable of serving their country.” Nevertheless, she too voted against it.

She says, “I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down the debate and preclude republican amendments.”

Majority leader Harry Reid refused to open debate or make deals before the bill got to the floor. In the end, democrats did not have enough votes to force that debate.

With both parties accusing the other of playing politics, the issue will likely surface again in December after the election and Howard says he hopes then that politics can be put aside. “Being a veteran, being discharged three years ago, I'd go back in a heartbeat if this policy is repealed. I would go back in two seconds to serve my country because that is what I want to do.”

The military already has working groups looking at how to implement the change if ordered. The groups are looking at issues such as housing to entitlements and even a policy for personal display of affection.