UPDATE: The Senate passed the repeal of "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" policy by a vote of 65-31 and sent it to President Obama for signature.
This morning the Senate took a landmark step that will all but ensure the repeal of the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for our nation's military by the end of the year. It's about time. For 17 years too many, since DADT went into effect in 1993, this law has prohibited homosexuals from serving their country.
While the final vote won't occur for a few hours, a vote of 63-33 to move forward on the vote, essentially guarantees it will pass. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 250-175 to repeal the law.
It's amazing that it has taken this long to get rid of such a discriminatory law, that we stood by and watched as a segment of citizens was so blatantly subjected to such treatment. More than 13,000 men and women have been discharged because of it to date.
In a statement, President Obama lauded the decision:
"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."
Well said. It's hard to imagine how much relief and joy men and women currently serving must be feeling that soon they won't have to hide who they are anymore or who they love. Soon they will get the respect and honor they so rightfully deserve for choosing to serve our country.
I love the words of Sen. Ron Wyden who said during the debate: “I don’t care who you love. If you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are.”
Don't expect any mass coming-out parties quite yet, however. Officials are warning those serving not to start announcing their sexuality until everything is final and President Obama and the Pentagon have worked out all the details. There could still be a few bumps, but overall it's great news. The only negative being that such a repeal ever existed in the first place.
Are you pleased to see Don't Ask, Don't Tell likely will be repealed?
Image via A. Blight/Flickr