Saturday, December 18, 2010

We did it! Senate Votes to Repeal DADT!

Dan Choi and Victor Fehrenbach
In an historic Saturday afternoon session, the senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of passing legislation to overturn the seventeen year old Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy banning gays and lesbians from serving their country openly. The policy, signed into law by former president Bill Clinton, was a compromise to lifting the outright ban on gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces.

Nearly 14,000 men and women have been tossed out under Clinton's "compromise". Senator Joe Lieberman said during today's debate that the U.S. government has spent over half a billion dollars training those dedicated, patriotic service members. A shameful chapter of our nation's history is now coming to and end thanks to the efforts of thousands men and women, who worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to make this happen.

President Obama hailed the senate vote today, saying, “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.”

Defense.Gov reports:
“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,” the president said. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”

Obama said he’s “absolutely convinced” that repeal of the law will underscore the professionalism of the world’s best-led and best-trained fighting force.

“And I join the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of servicemembers asked by the Pentagon, in knowing we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness,” he said.

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  1. Steve I wouldn't start unpacking the party favors just yet ! As it's clear from Gates statement that there is a LONG road ahead before the policy will offically be repealed and it safe for those in hidding to come out.

    Statement by Secretary Robert Gates on Senate Vote to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

    "I welcome today's vote by the Senate clearing the way for a legislative repeal of the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' law.

    This effort will be led by Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under "Once this legislation is signed into law by the President, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully.Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and himself a retired Marine Corps major general and infantry officer.

    "The legislation provides that repeal will take effect once the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the new policies and regulations written by the Department is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. As I have stated before, I will approach this process deliberately and will make such certification only after careful consultation with the military service chiefs and our combatant commanders and when I am satisfied that those conditions have been met for all the Services, commands and units.

    "It is therefore important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today's historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect

    This part here speak volumes about how long their going to drag this out.

    "Once this legislation is signed into law by the President, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully."

  2. I certainly understand that we still have a long way to go, as Justin Elzie wrote in the previous article. It's still not safe to come out, although I think there may be individuals who will want to.

    But the fact is that we do have reason to celebrate. All us us who sent letters and e-mails and met with our senators and congressmen and marched and badgered the president can feel a sense of pride that we have gotten this far.

    We are all a little more equal today than we were yesterday. From what I've read on the blogs and news sites, this victory could be the tipping point that gets us ENDA and marriage equality. How can you tell an army vet that he or she can fight and die for their country and receive equal treatment by the military, but not by a private employer or that they don't deserve to marry the one they love?

    We still have to get thru two years of Republicans in congress, but we could see court victories to overturn DOMA and all those Prop 8 type amendments.


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