Maine Sen. Susan Collins speaks on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

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September 21, 2010, 11:29 am
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(NECN/CNN) - Should Congress repeal the law barring gays from serving openly in the military?

Senate Democrats have attached a repeal of the 17-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law to a bill authorizing $726 billion in military spending next year. Advancing the measure could come down to a single vote. But that vote likely won't come from Sen. Susan Collins of Maine - yet.

Collins, a moderate Republican, is seen as crucial to the bill's chances because she supports lifting the ban. However, Collins has complained that Democrats are not giving her GOP colleagues a chance to be heard when the bill comes to the floor.

"I was the only Republican to vote for that position as a member of the Armed Services Committee. I spoke strongly during the debate on this issue during the committee. But it is simply not fair to block out amendments from people who disagree with my position. For the life of me I do not understand why the Majority Leader doesn't bring this bill to the floor and allow free and open debate and amendments from both sides of the aisle," says Collins.

Currently, the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal is being attached to a Department of Defense appropriations bill, which places limits on how the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' provisions can be amended.

An estimated 13,000 people have been discharged under the law since its inception in 1993.

Pop star Lady Gaga led a political rally in favor of repeal in Maine on Monday to pressure Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe to side with Democrats on the issue.

Tags: don't ask don't tell, gay, Susan Collins, lady gaga, military policy
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