Saturday, December 18, 2010

Senate Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

New York Times
December 18, 2010

Capping a 17-year political struggle, the Senate on Saturday repealed the Pentagon’s ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

By a vote of 65 to 31, the Senate sent the bill to President Obama, who had campaigned on ending the Clinton-era policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. A cloture vote of 63-33 earlier in the day had indicated that there was easily enough support to push the measure to final passage. The House had passed the measure, 250 to 175, on Wednesday.

“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,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the cloture vote. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”