Dec 16, 2010

Repeal of discriminatory DADT strikes a blow for enhanced military readiness and equality

The U.S. House took a major step toward equality and enhanced military readiness on Wednesday when they voted to repel the discriminatory and unconstitutional “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy.

The House approved the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010” by a vote of 250-175 that allows gays to serve openly in the military.

This is the second time the House voted to kill the ban. The measure was contained in the 2011 defense authorization bill that the House passed earlier this year. However, the Senate version of the defense authorization bill failed twice before the decision to go with a stand alone bill was reached.

The fate of repeal now lies in the Senate, where Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced S.4023, a standalone bill to repeal the ban.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, was one of the co-sponsors of HR 6520,as were U.S. Reps. Sander Levin, D-Southfield, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township. Dingell spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor.

“Just as today’s Americans shake their heads at the thought of a segregated military – and indeed society - I suspect that generations to come will do the same at the shift we made in 1994 from the outright to tacit discrimination of homosexuals in the military,” Dingell said. “Madam Speaker, our nation is engaged in conflicts in multiple theatres and we are in desperate need of troops, as well as foreign language translators, and yet because of DADT, there is a segment of the population who want to serve openly and who, for all intents and purposes, face a sign saying they “need not apply.”

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