Senate votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Speak Equal on December 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Dear Readers,

Forgive me, for today is an emotional day. I would love to provide something witty and wonderful, however as I am writing this, tears are streaming down my eyes and I can barely see what I am typing.

Please enjoy this article originally published via the LA Times instead:

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles — The Senate voted to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, approving a bill that repeals the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” on Saturday.

The 65-31 vote came after an earlier procedural vote that brought the milestone in gay rights to the Senate floor. It also fulfilled a campaign promise by President Obama, who has been under attack from liberals in his own party for seeking compromises with Republicans on economic and tax issues during the lame-duck congressional session.

The White House said Obama will sign the measure into law next week. Repeal means that gays and lesbians can openly serve without fear of punishment. More than 13,500 people have been dismissed from the military since the 1993 law went into effect.

“The Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend,” President Obama said in a prepared statement.” By ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,” no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

“It is time to close this chapter in our history,” he stated. “It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.”

A week ago, the repeal seemed to be politically dead, caught in sparring between Democrats and Republicans. But Democrats moved the repeal from an amendment to a defense bill to a separate measure that passed the House this week 250 to 174. Some of the more liberal Senate Republicans began to shift as well.

In a test earlier Saturday, the Senate voted 63 to 33 for repeal, a large enough outcome to assure final passage after six Republicans joined with Democrats to advance the bill.

The six Republican senators who voted with the majority were: Scott Brown, of Massachusetts; Susan M. Collins and Olympia J. Snowe, both of Maine; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and George Voinovich of Ohio. Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, the only Democrat to oppose repeal, did not vote.

In the final vote, two more Republicans, John Ensign of Nevada and Richard Burr of North Carolina, crossed over.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell is wrong,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in his opening remarks Saturday morning, sounding a frequent theme during the debate. “I don’t care who you love. If you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are. You ought to be able to serve.”

Tags: Senate

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