Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) committed Wednesday night to a full vote that would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the U.S. military's ban on openly gay servicemembers.
In a statement, Reid said he will bring the pending defense authorization bill to the Senate floor with the DADT repeal attached sometime in December. "Our Defense Department supports repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces," the statement reads. "We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so."
Reid's office blasted out the statement shortly after the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights advocacy group, issued its own statement asserting that Reid had promised them just such a move in a meeting.
That meeting included a strong White House presence, as well, The Advocate reported. Joining Reid's senior counsel and chief of staff were Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Legislative Affairs Director Phil Schiliro and Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Kerry Eleveld reported.
Earlier Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama considers the repeal "a priority." He undercut that statement by adding that Obama has not lobbied key swing senators for support, but a later statement by spokesman Shin Inouye claimed that the administration has been reaching out to "dozens" of senators from both parties over the past week.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who Gibbs cited among the swing votes, has a press conference planned for Thursday morning with other Senate Democrats to "show broad support" for repeal during the lame-duck session, Karen Ocamb reported shortly before Reid's statement was released.