Historic Vote Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Passed By The Senate


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Historic Vote Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Passed By The Senate

By Shane Nolan

December 20, 2010 - The Senate on Saturday voted to pass legislation repealing the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, sending the historic bill to the president's desk for signature. The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Act of 2010 (H.R. 2965) was passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. 

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was passed into law in 1993 and, since 1994, more than 14,000 qualified and committed service members, both men and women, have been discharged under the policy simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. The momentum to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been building for nearly a year with President Obama calling for its repeal in his State of the Union address and the highest ranking members of the military calling for the policy to end. 

For nearly two decades, gay and lesbian service members have been forced to hide who they are in order to serve their country. That will soon end. The significance of this vote should not be underestimated and should serve as confirmation that we should not and cannot codify discrimination into our laws.

President Barack Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office before Senate's final vote on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. December 18, 2010.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell' had no place in a country where we value the equal treatment of all our citizens. We urge President Obama to swiftly sign this bill and ensure that our gay and lesbian service members can serve their country with honesty and dignity. 

Saturday?s historic vote would not have happened without the tireless efforts of many, including leaders in Congress, advocates, and the clear leadership provided by the President. On Saturday morning, President Obama had reached out to Senators from both sides of the aisle to help secure votes. It was only 11 months ago that the President called for the repeal in his first State of the Union and then laid out the plan, including the Pentagon?s Comprehensive Review for the Repeal of Don?t Ask Don?t Tell, that has taken us to where we are today. 

President Obama ? ?Today, 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. 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.


?As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known. And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness.


?I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. It is time to close this chapter in our history. 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.?

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