GOP Sen. Pryor now supports ‘don’t ask’ repeal

Liz Goodwin
December 8, 2010

Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor announced Wednesday that he will vote to repeal the military's ban on openly gay service, after strong urging from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen.

Pryor was one of two Democrats who joined Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to block debate of the defense authorization bill in September.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts announced last week that he would also be flipping his vote and supporting repeal.

Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins says she too will vote for repeal, providing that Senate leaders set aside time for amendments and that Congress has already passed tax cuts for all Americans.

President Obama and Republicans have reached a deal on tax cuts, but it's still unclear whether they will have time to reauthorize spending and pass the tax cut deal before getting to "don't ask, don't tell." All 42 Senate Republicans have vowed to block all legislation until those two issues are finished.

As The Lookout has reported, the strong message from Gates, Mullen and the Pentagon report leave opponents of repeal with little political cover. They can either cite opposition to repeal from the chiefs of the Army and the Marines or make procedural arguments, such as the lack of time to weigh the issue in the lame-duck session.

The measure may come to a vote Wednesday.

(Photo of Pryor: AP)