This is long over due!
In a landmark for gay rights, the Senate on Saturday voted to let gays serve openly in the military, giving President Barack Obama the chance to fulfill a campaign promise and repeal the 17-year policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Obama was expected to sign it next week, although the change wouldn’t take immediate effect. The legislation says the president and his top military advisers must certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ fighting ability. After that, there’s a 60-day waiting period for the military.
“It is time to close this chapter in our history,” Obama said in a statement after a test vote cleared the way for final action. “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.”
The Senate vote was 65-31. The House had passed an identical version of the bill, 250-175, on Wednesday.
Repeal would mean that, for the first time in American history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.
More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law.
Rounding up a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate was a historic victory for Obama, who made repeal a campaign promise in 2008. It also was a political triumph for congressional Democrats who struggled in the final hours of the postelection session to overcome GOP objections on several legislative priorities before Republicans regain control of the House in January. More…
Pentagon study: http://tinyurl.com/23lxc49
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: http://www.sldn.org/
Information on the bill, H.R. 2965, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov
The Pentagon released its much-anticipated study on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) on Tuesday, finding that 70 percent of servicemembers believe the change in policy would have a positive, mixed or no effect. The announcement was accompanied by a full-throated endorsement of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly by the study’s co-authors, who concluded that there is little risk of disruption to the military if implementation is properly carried out.
Co-authors Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham told reporters in a press briefing on Tuesday that the study found strong support for implementing repeal, and activists are hoping that lawmakers who were waiting to see the findings will now come out in support of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Furthermore, they made clear that much of the opposition to repeal springs from misinformation.
“The reality is that there are gay men and lesbians already serving in today’s U.S. military, and most Service members recognize this,” said Johnson in his prepared remarks to reporters. “Further, in the course of our assessment, it became apparent to us that, aside from the moral and religious objections to homosexuality, much of the concern about ‘openly’ gay Service members is driven by misperceptions and stereotypes.”
Continue reading here…
- Pentagon DADT Report: Little to No Risk in Letting Gays Serve Openly (towleroad.com)
- RECALL DADT NOW – Pentagon Study to be Released Today will say “Little or no Risk” (lezgetreal.com)
- Gates, Mullen to Discuss Pentagon DADT Report with Congress (towleroad.com)
- DADT Posed For Repeal? (themoderatevoice.com)
- Source: Most service members surveyed don’t care about DADT repeal (cnn.com)
- Source: Most service members surveyed don’t care about DADT repeal – CNN (news.google.com)
Just when it appeared she had once again found her own voice, Old McCain shuts her up…
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) insisted on Sunday that there was no rift of opinion between him and his wife over the issue of repealing the military’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy. Cindy McCain doesn’t endorse immediate repeal despite recording an ad accusing political leaders of forcing gay servicemen to live a lie, her husband stressed.
“I respect the First Amendment rights of every member of my family,” Senator McCain joked in what was his 59th appearance on Meet The Press.
The Senator was confirming a clarification of position that his wife had made two days prior. Earlier in the week, Cindy McCain appeared in an ad for the NOH8 campaign, an organization that promotes the rights of LGBT youth. But on Friday she said she backed her husband’s position on the controversial policy, which is that another study must be done to see whether the law should or should not be repealed.
Senator McCain has been accused of backtracking on his stance as well. Several years ago, he stressed that he would be open to the idea of repeal if U.S. military leadership approved it. But once several of the top officials started speaking out against the policy, McCain moved the goal posts. He wanted to wait for a Pentagon-commissioned study on the ban.
That study’s findings were reported last week. And the preliminary data showed that service members would have little to no problem with openly gay colleagues. Even then, however, McCain was not sold. The study was leaked, he stressed (arguing that he couldn’t be sure about its veracity) and it didn’t measure the right issues. And even if the right study was conducted, McCain went on, Congress would need time to examine and debate it.
“You and I have not seen that study,” he said of the leaked findings. “And this study was directed on how to implement the repeal not whether the repeal should take place or not.”
“A thorough and complete study of the effects, not how to implement a repeal, but the effects on morale and battle effectiveness, that’s what I want,” he added. “And once we get this study we need to have hearings, and we need to examine it, and we need to look at whether it is the kind of study that we wanted.”
It all comes down to whether the Democrats in the Senate will have the votes to push the DADT repeal initiative through. The most surprising aspect to all of this is Lady Gaga’s impassioned and eloquent speech supporting the repeal of DADT.
President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Marine Corps says he doesn’t think Congress should lift the ban on gay troops who want to serve openly.
Gen. James Amos’ comment came hours before a Senate test vote on a defense policy bill that would repeal the 17-year-old law, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Amos told a Senate panel on Tuesday he was concerned that unit morale could suffer. He also said the shake up could become a distraction for forces busy fighting in Afghanistan.
When pressed by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, who supports repealing the law, Amos said the Marine Corps would dutifully implement any changes to its personnel policy if Congress changed the law.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) – It’s John McCain versus Lady Gaga on Tuesday as the Senate takes up the emotional issue of repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Senate Democrats have attached repeal of the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law to a bill authorizing $726 billion in military spending next year. The fate of the move appears uncertain, but whichever way the votes go, repeal seems destined to become a major issue in this fall’s midterm elections.
The law is already under siege. A federal judge in California recently ruled the ban on gays was unconstitutional, polls suggest a majority of Americans oppose it and Lady Gaga has challenged it in a YouTube video.
Repeal advocates say the law deprives the military of capable soldiers and violates civil rights.