December 18, 2010
By: Christine Nicco/TRT Online Reporter
History has been made and the U.S. Senate has shown that equality matters in the military and to its service members. On the final vote, the Senate voted 65-31 (acquiring two more votes since the preliminary vote earlier today) to repeal the discriminatory military ban, DADT. The bill expected to be signed into law by President Obama before the year ends.
According to a CNN report, President Obama thanked Senators for thier work in passing this legislation and said that “it is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their company openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.”
The Senate’s historic vote will open the doors of equality for gay and lesbian to serve in the military. DADT prohibited U.S. gay people from serving openly in the armed forces since 1993. Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) voted in favor to repeal the measure, changing his original vote. President Obama, has vowed that he will sign the bill into law.
After such a historic signature, according to CNN reports, the Pentagon and Armed Forces will have to go through some logistic changes to ensure its enforcement. In other words, repealing DADT will not go into effect immediately. There will be a 60-day waiting period as the Pentagon implements the new legislation.
In Boston, Massachusetts, MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini, Esq., voiced her thoughts about the vote and what it means to everyone, specifically to Massachusetts.
“Today’s vote by the U.S. Senate to repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ will end 13 years of ugly, government-sponsored discrimination, and is an historic victory for LGBT equality. MassEquality thanks President Obama for delivering on his campaign promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and applauds those senators who voted for repeal, particularly those who, like Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, crossed party lines to take an affirmative vote in favor of LGBT equality.
“But the true courage behind today’s vote has been that of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers and their families who have endured the harms of this discriminatory law while advancing freedom for others, and the countless veterans and citizens who made visit after visit, placed call after call, and wrote letter after letter until Congress finally joined the supermajority of Americans, Massachusetts citizens, and servicemembers who support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Since March, MassEquality has worked hard to convince Sen. Brown to vote to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We delivered 2,262 postcards and 110 handwritten letters to Sen. Brown urging him to vote for repeal; we made nearly 10,000 calls to families of veterans and other MassEquality members urging them to call Sen. Brown to ask him to support repeal; we organized meetings for 27 veterans opposed to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ with Sen. Brown’s constituent services director in Boston; and we partnered with the Human Rights Campaign last May to sponsor a panel discussion at Faneuil Hall among five veterans in support of repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’
“We are pleased to have continued our history of delivering wins few thought possible with Sen. Brown’s key vote today in favor of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Since the law’s implementation in 1993, it has weakened our national security with the unnecessary loss of critically skilled personnel, and done incalculable harm to the more than 14,000 servicemembers, and their families, discharged under the discriminatory law.”
Senator Joe Liberman, (I) CT, on a CNN interview said recently that “No one will be denied equal opportunity based on their sexual orientation.”
DADT was first enacted by former President Bill Clinton in a move to allow all people, regardless of sexual orientation, to serve in the military. Prior to DADT, gays and lesbians were not permitted to serve in the military, per the Uniform Code of Military Justice, passed by Congress in 1950 and signed by President Harry S Truman.
The passage of the bill is a major victory for President Obama who promised to end DADT during his Presidential campaign.