History is Made! United States Senate Repeals Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by a Vote of 65-31

At 3:35 P.M. EST the United States Senate finished tallying the votes on the first LGBT civil rights law to ever pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed with a vote ofSenator John McCain 65 in favor of repealing the 1993 law and 31 against.

The debate in the Senate chambers lasted three hours and came at great cost to the children of illegal immigrants when the DREAM Act failed to make cloture just prior to the closing arguments before the vote was taken. Senator John McCain (R-Az.) and Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn.) had threatened earlier today to “poison the well” if DADT advanced in the Senate.

The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is far from complete as it must first be signed by President Obama and the final certification before troops can “come out of closet” is that Defense Secretary Gates and Chief of Staff Admiral Mullins must certify that it will not harm military readiness or effectiveness in any manner. It’s still possible that Republican pundits may question those certifications and attempt to keep the closet doors shut for as long as possible.
Senator_Patrick_LeahyDuring the closing statements, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made perhaps the most emotional comments for repeal when he presented a picture of three coffins covered with American flags representing service members who died for our nation with the caption underneath that read “Which one is gay?” He also told a story of walking through Arlington National Cemetery and proposed to his fellow Senators the controversy that would be raised if even one dead soldier buried there would have to be removed because it was found out that they were gay. “Gay soldiers have served in the military of this nation since its very beginning!” Leahy said. “It’s time we let them speak up and not be ashamed of who they are!”

While the Democratic Senators continued to speak of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell the Republicans hammered the START treaty and one small paragraph of the preamble, realizing that a continued argument over DADT was already a lost cause. The spectacle reminded one of spanking an errant child.

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a press conference immediately following the vote said that: “Now some have said that because we voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell they’re going toSenator_Harry_Reid vote against the START Treaty. Now focus on that just for a minute, folks: They’re going to vote against this treaty dealing with international nuclear weapons because they had to vote on the DREAM Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?” Reid’s voice changed to obvious sarcasm, “Now, that’s real statesmanship!”

No Statements or press releases have been received from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network as of press time although statements were immediately forthcoming from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force which remains the only national LGBT organization to issue a formal statement about the historical civil rights action.

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey issued the following formal statement regarding the event: "This vote today marks a critical step toward creating a path that could end in lesbian, gay and bisexual people finally being able to serve openly, honestly, and to great benefit of our country. Three-quarters of Americans say ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed, as do top military leaders. We thank those senators who supported cloture today, and urge the full Senate to pass ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal. It’s time to end this costly and discriminatory policy. Until then, the lives and careers of thousands of courageous, qualified and patriotic service members will continue to hang in the balance."

rea_carey_3_09_187x159It’s assumed that President Obama will sign the repeal into law as soon as possible and use it to gain back some of the lost trust with the LGBT community he’s accumulated since his election in 2008 when he promised advances in civil rights and, up until today, has delivered on none of his promises and in some instances, such as ordering U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to seek a stay order on the Federal court ruling in California that adjudicated that DADT was unconstitutional, has actually caused a reversal of LGBT civil rights that may have contributed to a landslide defeat of the Democratic Party in November of this year in Congress.

Washington insiders believe that defeat might be causing a resurgence of the President and his original policies and may be focusing his attentions on goals that will solve more social issues and gain him votes in the upcoming re-election.

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