Senator Byrd Says He’ll Vote ‘Yes’ on DADT Repeal, with Language Providing Congress a 60-Day Review Period

Senator Robert Byrd has said he'll vote yes on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal compromise, but wants language added that would allow for a 60-day review period of the implementation policy by Congress once it's certified, Wonk Room reports.

Byrd Said Byrd: “This period of time will allow the Congress, along with the American people, to thoroughly review the proposed policy recommendations to ensure that these changes are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention for our Armed Forces.” “With these changes, I will support the amendment expected to be offered by Senator Lieberman to the Department of Defense Authorization bill.”

Wonk Room adds: "The new language will presumably send the issue back to Congress even after the results of the Defense Department review are certified by President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen. The full compromise now looks something like this: 1) Congress passes repeal as an attachment to the defense authorization bill, 2) once the study is completed on December 1, officials will certify that it does not undermine military effectiveness 3) once it’s certified, Congress has 60 days to 'review' it before DADT is repealed."

And what happens should Congress not approve? 


  1. jason says

    Andy of towleroad,

    You make a good point about this not being a legislative repeal. It’s important for everyone to note this. Come December or January of next year, what guarantee is there that a Republican-controlled House will pass a DADT repeal? Republicans rarely, if ever, vote in our favor.

    My view is that this new move by the Obama administration is an attempt to buy our votes. They know that we are angry with them and won’t vote for them in November. This new tactic is a tactical carrot and nothing more.

    I’m not buying it.

  2. says

    It’s not even a particularly tasty carrot. This is more like kicking the stick down the road a piece and hoping we’re too dumb, or desperate, to do anything other than bitch as we write out our checks. AND once Congress rejects the ‘repeal’ after this 120 days’ review, the ban is set in stone as at that point it will be the voted, considered, and agreed to, defense policy. There’ll be no going back on it for a generation.

    At least Bush didn’t put us in this position. We’re going to get negative decisions, negative votes, and negative outcomes that will be written in stone.

    We’d better stick to porn boys and partying.

  3. TANK says

    The triple K, triple threat senator for west virginny has had his say. When will he just die? He’s quite literally a relic of olden tymes, and bigoted thoughts.

  4. ichabod says

    Actually Senator Byrd, just keep your “yes” vote. We don’t need the extra stings that come attached with your questionable “support”.

  5. says

    so they’d pass a bill that says they might pass another bill in the future to repeal DADT? Do they think we’re fucking stupid? Actually, given the amount of blind allegiance to these con-men that afflicts our community, I guess they do. And with very good reason. I hope Murphy has the good sense to walk away from this increasingly absurd “compromise”.

  6. Tim says

    the whole point to passing the legislation NOW was to avoid having to vote on it after the mid term elections. What kind of brain-fart is Byrd having here. We don’t need his “yes” vote to pass this. We have enough without him. Tell him to go to hell!

  7. Filberto says

    Say what you will, having Senator Byrd onboard is a huge step. I wouldn’t overract to these kinds of conditions and amendments. It is common in the legislative process. The gay community is just going to have to grow up, quit demonizing people, and work within the system to get anything worthwhile done. And yes, it does take time and a good deal of patience.

  8. James says

    Where was all this fucking research into the implications of DADT when it was put in place in the first place? Now everyone wants everyone to really think about.

    We are treated like shit in this country by a bunch of fucking ignorant old people whose time is up. I’m with Get Equal and their tactics. No more playing nice with the Democrats. They have royally fucked us over one to many times, and for what?

    At least the Republicans represent those that but them in power.

  9. Hacktivist says

    Activists Needed!

    Heckle the President and interrupt meetings in Washington D.C.

    Informal attire. Tie-dyed shirts and sandals are okay.

    Must be able to rhyme and shout (at the same time).

    Salary: $89,999 per year *plus travel expenses

    Apply @

  10. Mike C. says

    FILBERTO makes a good point. JAMES, people like you are losing it, because Get Equal’s “tactics” aren’t going to help at all with people like Byrd, Webb or Brown, and right now, those are the only people who matter. I know you have a hard time accepting that.

    You guys keep trying to knock Obama and the administration, when you forget they are actually on board with the DADT repeal.

    It’s democrats like Webb, Byrd and Nelson who should be deserving your ire. You are still having difficulty accepting that a lot of old time white folk, simply don’t like us, and that’s going to take time and patience to change.

  11. James says

    Actually Mike, Webb, Byrd and Nelson didn’t run as ‘fierce advocates’ of LGBT rights. Obama did. That’s why I’m upset when he hands these people responsibility for this.

    He has the power, right now, to stop the expulsion of people who only want to serve their country, yet he doesn’t.

    You can keep making excuses for him. I’ll be holding him accountable.

  12. stephen says

    oh, for crissakes already! We’re not flippin’ LEPERS; we’re just gays and we’re already part of the military.

    This country is SOooo ridiculously stupid about sexuality- get over it, puleeeeese.

  13. David in Houston says

    “And what happens should Congress not approve?”

    Then every single gay person serving in the military comes out all at once. I’d love to see them try to handle 60,000 discharges simultaneously.

  14. Rob G. says

    Hey Hacktivist- where did you get that salary number? There’s not even a list of individuals in their website.

    The interruptions at fund-raising events have been amateurish at best and poor examples of direct action.

    What’s the scoop?


  15. walter says

    study repeal, offer compromise, study compromise, vote on compromise, implement compromise, study implementation, then revisit the effects of implementation. look familiar the dog chases its tail. if get equal and others had not pressed the issue evryone would be willing to wait. remember
    obama said he was a fierce advocate when he needed votes and money. he has yet made a strong statement to help get this through. he is cic the chiefs of staff serve at his
    pleasure.he is the boss.

  16. posta0 says

    Well i would like to see the wording. Does this new compromise mean after the review period congress will have to vote TO repeal it or will they have to vote NOT TO repeal it.

    If that doesn’t make sense, is it assumed to be repealed after the review period unless congress intervenes and stops it from being repealed?

    If congress has to vote for it not to be repealed even if republicans take over the house it wouldn’t get through the senate.

  17. Michael @ says

    It just gets more fucking batshit crazy by the day. The inmates are running a very loony asylum. Bottomline: Byrd was afraid that homophobe Gates might go soft at the last minute and let a few out Fagroes slip by.

    Here are a few facts about 92-yr. old Byrd”

    “Senator Byrd took a harder line than Nunn. He believed homosexuality was a sin; said he would never let his grandson, whom he adored, join a military that admitted gays; and asserted that one reason the Roman Empire fell was the acceptance of pervasive homosexual conduct in the Roman legions from Julius Caesar on down.” – From President Bill Clinton’s book “My Life” (pg. 484):

    Voting for DOMA in 1996, Byrd said:

    “The drive for same-sex marriage, is, in effect, an effort to make a sneak attack on society by encoding this aberrant behavior in legal form before society itself has decided it should be legal. Let us defend the oldest institution, the institution of marriage between male and female as set forth in the Holy Bible.”

    “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds. ” — Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944

    “Byrd joined with other Southern and border state Democrats to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he now says he regrets. He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” – Ye Olde Wikipedia.

    Gay servicemembers are being crushed between a vice of bigots in the Pentagon and bigots in Congress while Barack “Equality is a moral imperative. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans.” Obama twiddles his thumbs and whistles “Dixie.”

  18. Patric says

    Thank you, Filberto and Mike C., for injecting some sanity into a discussion dominated by people who have been overtaken by paranoia (though Mike C., as much as I am not a fan of either Ben Nelson or Byrd, I note that both have now signed on to vote for repeal this week).

    I don’t see how anyone following this story and hearing the threats of a filibuster from McCain and being aware of the strong resistance of Gates to Congressional action prior to completion of the DOD study cannot appreciate the delicate balancing act required of the President and other supporters of repeal to get this done. All those bitching about the President should be turning some of that fire on that great “moderate” friend of our community, Scott Brown, who will be voting against repeal this week despite the fact that 90% of voters in his state support repeal.

    See the updates to the original Wonk Room post for clarification that Byrd’s amendment will not require additional action by Congress next year. The repeal would automatically take effect 60 days following satisfaction of the specified conditions.

  19. nic says

    oh, for cripes sakes, where did obama’s balls go? hillary must have castrated him. i am so tired of him pontificating but not taking a strong stand on anything. obama who? once again, my vote goes down the drain. so far, his legacy is zero.

  20. Ken says

    Does this review period mean that Congress must vote again after the study is complete or does it mean Congress has the option to revote after the study? This is a huge difference. If it is the former, any vote now is meaningless, but if it’s the later, as long as the Dems keep even slim control of Congress, we should be fine.

  21. rm says

    I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding here, there is a HUGE difference between “review” and “approve.” Under the new Byrd language congress doesn’t have to approve anything (see: ). they just have to not repeal the repeal of DADT for 60 days… so presumably once the Obama/Gates/Mullen letter makes it to congress, 41 can ensure that DADT is repealed in 60 days.

    If DADT repeal doesn’t happen after passage of this amendment it will be because the obama/gates/mullen letter endorsing an end to the ban never makes it to congress, not because of anything that happens during the 60 day “review” process. While this new language is stupid and unnecessary, it certainly shouldn’t be a deal breaker

  22. John says

    Actually, we do need his vote.

    With that bigot Jim Webb (DINO-VA) now a firm “no” and Scott Brown gone MIA to appease his loony tunes Tea Party supporters, today’s announcements are significant.

    Evan Bayh, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Ben Nelson, and Robert Byrd are now in support of repealing DADT. They are within striking distance of 60 votes in the Senate for the first time in as long as I can remember. It may pass without a single vote to spare. And the language of the legislation isn’t ideal. Still, this is a once in a generation opportunity.

    If it doesn’t happen this week, then it won’t for another 20 years. I am far less concerned about the House because Pelosi is very good at the “three line whip” strategy and dealing with backbench rebellions. It is the Senate that is the impenetrable fortress of doom.

  23. Jubal Harshaw says

    Wow. There are a lot of spineless gay people on this blog. At the top of the list are Filberto, Mike C., Postao, and Patric. But you’ve obviously rationalized this turd in your heads so please by all means cower for your scraps curs.

  24. emjayay says

    Yeah, this legislation is a disgusting piece of shit. However, if all the shit is just there to get the thing passed, fine. I suspect it will pass, and all the hoops built into it to get those votes will not matter in reality. It’s highly possible that I’m wrong, but I suspect not. 3/4 of American people are for ending DADT, but the Senate is full of Neanderthal asswipe bought by corporations shithead morons. If the thing gets through, and that’s a big if, there is no way it will be derailed without the biggest shitstorm ever. Getting over the initial speedbump is always the hardest thing in American politics.

    I hope I’m right.

  25. emjayay says

    Byrd is about a million years old and was born in the Confederacy. I think he was a slaveowner or something. He was once a big KKK guy, I think maybe the Grand Wizard of the Universe.
    But he’s smart and keeps learning, however slowly. He just had to add one more absurd hurdle to be able to bring himself to vote for this bill, which he wouldn’t have been able to even vote for before a day or two ago.

  26. hotguywxw says

    Politics wise…..great bait. The voters of the left suck when it comes to midterms and this is another piece of bait to lure us out….change is hard and you’re going to work for it. Instead of the sad..the dems will lose anyways dialog…get out there and spread the word for a more left wing sanate. BUT the majority…will sit back whine…Dems lose congress…DADT dies..the end.

  27. says

    For all those who say we need to just sit back and let Byrd and the legislature play around with it, how are you going to feel next year, at this time, when DADT has still NOT been repealed and gay servicemembers continue to be discharged?

    You are probably the same ones who thought DADT was the right move during the Clinton Administration. I was in the military at that time…do you really know what DADT changed? HERE IT IS…When you signed up for the military, there was a line asking if you were homosexual, that line was deleted. Nothing else changed. Discharges continue to this day. As far as I know, to this day, since DADT, no one discharged because they were gay, were successful in getting re-instated through the law, even though some have been outted by others. In otherwords, the whole law of DADT was to remove a single line in your enlistment contract, therefore, they could not discharge you dishonorably (which they did) for falsifying your enlistment contract.

  28. Alan says

    This feable old man is 93 and can’t give a speech without slobbering on himself. He could be dead before these delaying tactics are finalized.

  29. Dr Johnny says

    What a COINCIDENCE that we wouldn’t know anything until JUST after the November election. Sounds like a bunch of BS to me to get our vote!