Setting the stage for lame duck, Mitch McConnell’s office takes a swipe at DADT

Sure looks like the GOP Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, is prepared to fight the effort to pass the DADT language:

Democrats see in the weeks ahead a final opportunity to pass priority legislation before Republicans have an emboldened presence in Washington.

But a spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said voters were not interested in the Democrats’ priorities.

“It’s like the election didn’t happen — if you look at what their priorities are,” spokesman Don Stewart said. “The American people’s priorities are not the Dream Act, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal and the START treaty. Their priorities are not getting a tax hike — and keeping spending under control.”

This is important.

McConnell exercises very tight control over his caucus. We need Senator Susan Collins, who voted for the DADT language in the Senate Armed Services Committee last May, to stand up for equality in December. That means Collins will have to defy her leader. She doesn’t do that very often.

McConnell can play all kinds of procedural games over the next few weeks to block the Defense bill, with the DADT language. If Republican Senators play along with McConnell, we’re screwed.

Susan Collins knows that if the DADT language doesn’t pass this year, it won’t happen for a very long time. Let’s hope she’s negotiating directly with Harry Reid — and negotiating in good faith. If Collins will vote the right way, she’ll bring several other GOPers. If she won’t side with equality, don’t expect any other Republican Senators to do it.

There is going to be an intense battle in the Senate to pass the Defense bill over the next few weeks. We need the President fully engaged. Sign our letter to Obama asking him to get actively involved by calling wavering Senators. We need to pressure him to make sure he’s pressuring them. Sign here.




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—  admin

Out lesbian abruptly removed from dean position at Texas A&M University-Commerce

Christine Evans

An open lesbian has been unexpectedly removed from her position as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and the student newspaper reports that “questions have been raised” about whether sexual orientation was a factor.

Christine Evans was removed as dean and given a position as a professor in the agriculture department. Evans told The East Texan that her sexual orientation “probably” wasn’t the reason for her removal as dean. But she adds that even if it was, she would have no recourse. Neither the university policy, nor state or federal law, includes employment protections for gays and lesbians.

“I am openly lesbian, and have made no attempt to either trumpet or hide that orientation,” Evans said. “I’m quite certain that most people on campus and in Commerce who have interacted with me to any extent are aware of that. I can also add that I have had no direct experience of mistreatment or different treatment related to the issue. …

“My personal opinion is that my sexual orientation was probably not the reason for my dismissal,” she said. “Further, although it hasn’t been shared with me, I would be very disappointed if I were to learn that my career status had been so abruptly altered by something so insubstantial.”

The provost of the university, Larry Lemanski, says Evans’ removal was a “personnel matter” and that he wanted to move the college “in a new direction.”

While Evans isn’t publicly claiming anti-gay discrimination, she did take an apparent swipe at the administration.

“It will be refreshing to have a supervisor I respect and colleagues I can trust,” she said.

—  John Wright