Congress REPEALS Don't Ask Don't Tell!

We did it!

The Senate voted today to repeal the military ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, following the House vote in favor of the repeal earlier this week. Both Senators Begich and Murkowski voted for repeal. Rep. Young voted against it.

Saturday morning (very early for those in Alaska watching the live broadcast), the Senate voted for cloture on the DADT repeal, voting 63-33 where they needed at least 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. The cloture vote was the main hurdle, since repeal itself needed only a simple majority to pass. After a few more hours of debate, they passed the repeal 65-31. Now it goes to the President to be signed and certified.

Please thank both Senators Begich and Murkowski for supporting all of our troops and voting to repeal this discriminatory law.

However, it is not safe for gay and lesbian troops to come out yet, as the policy will not be fully implemented for at least several months. Even after the President signs the bill, service members will remain at risk for investigation and discharge. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will still be the law until 60 days after the Commander-in-Chief, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that repeal can happen.

President Obama on the Senate's DADT vote:
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.
The Senate also voted for cloture on the Dream Act this morning, but the motion failed to get the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. Both senators from Alaska voted in favor.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Lots of your friends and families are celebrating this victory with you. Finally, justice for our LBGT troops. I truly believe the final victory for all rights for all is inevitable. However, there will be more battles ahead. I intend to continue doing my part until that final victory comes. Joy to all.

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