Dec 19, 2010

Senate votes to kill the discriminatory and unconstitutional Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy

After 17 years the discriminatory and unconstitutional “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy is all but history after the Senate voted 65-31 on Saturday to end the Clinton-era policy banning gays from serving openly in the military.

The Senate followed the lead of the House that passed the ban on Wednesday, and eight Republican senators joined almost the entire Senate Democratic caucus to approve the bill.

The Senate voted 63 to 33 earlier in the day to end a Republican filibuster of the bill, helping President Obama fulfill his campaign pledge to end the policy that about 70 percent of active-duty and reserve forces, 70 percent of the general public, the Secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also support repelling.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the testimony of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was instrumental in getting the bill passed.

“Passage of this bill is a victory for our military, which can now implement this change in a deliberate, responsible way,” Levin said. “It’s a victory for our country, which has taken another step toward living up to our highest ideals. And it is a victory for thousands of brave men and women who now can serve the nation they love without having to conceal part of their identity.”

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