That not one senator on the Republican side was willing to think for him- or herself (at least, alas, a couple of Democrats did!) speaks to a cynicism about their role which in turn reflects poorly on the responsibility with which they address the work they are elected to do. I can find no motive in their action other than the obsession with a defeat of the Democrats and return to power. Unless, of course, they imagine that undisguised homophobia will garner them the even more enthusiastic support of their extreme right-wing base.
I was surprised to hear the media response, that this should be read as a further political setback for Democrats. Admittedly, they lost the battle of Don't Ask, Don't Tell for now; but they may find themselves in a better position to win the war. Well, at least the current war--the November election. I tend to think--or hope, let's say--that this new act of political spite will turn into a defeat for Republicans. At some point, surely, they will overstep the bounds and alienate not only every voting moderate in the country but even the most reliable of their supporters. Such blatant and irrational partisanship is no way to move forward with the country's business.