PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 06:  United States Marine Corps recruits recite answers to questions about Marine Corps history asked by their drill instructor during a break in training at boot camp March 6, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON

Conservatives are ecstatic about the defeat of the Democratic attempt to cancel the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy governing homosexuals in the military – but they’re keeping their powder dry.

Today the Senate defeated, on a 57-43 vote, a defense spending authorization bill laden with controversial amendments that would have promoted homosexuality in the military, permitted abortion on military bases and provided new ways for illegal aliens to become American citizens.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was one of three Democrats to vote against the bill.

“It’s victory, it’s fantastic, the best thing to happen in a long time,” said Bob Knight, a senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and a longtime leader in the fight against the homosexual-rights movement.

He added, “I’m happy, but still wary. Don’t be fooled by Harry Reid’s vote.”

Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, said, “We agree with Gen. James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant, that the repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not good policy for the military, and we’re extremely pleased that the provision allowing abortions on military bases will not go forward.”

Nance cautioned, however, “I don’t believe it’s over. I believe this issue will come up again. We are going to be cautious, but optimistic, and we will continue to be on guard.”

Family Research Council policy analyst Chris Gacek described Reid’s vote as a “procedural trick” that did not reflect his real views on the bill. Gacek explained that by voting against the bill, Reid established the right to bring it up for a vote again in the future, a parliamentary tactic commonly used by both sides in Congress.

Knight raised the possibility that Reid may never have intended to win the vote in the first place.

“To load [the bill] up with three controversial provisions is like asking for it to be rejected,” he said.

Knight suggested the real reason Reid brought the bill to a vote was to appeal to Democratic constituent groups, particularly homosexuals, ardent abortion backers and Latino voters, before the November elections.


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