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Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Was a Bi Partisan EffortSalem-News.com
"It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly." - Pres. Barack Obama
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The United State Senate today voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The House of Representatives had previously voted to end this policy and the bill will now go the President for his signature.
Many are hailing the landmark vote; comparing it to some of the nation's greatest civil rights struggles.
It did not take long for the Senate to abolish the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy today which had been in place for 17 years, forcing gay and lesbian members of the armed forces to keep their sexual orientation private.
The vote was 65-31 vote. The LA Times says it came after a charged and sometimes vitriolic debate. They noted that the vote was surprisingly bipartisan, with eight members of the GOP joining Democrats in voting to repeal the policy enacted during the Clinton-era.
President Obama said Saturday, "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."
Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign which has battled the anti-gay ban for years, said, "Our government has sent a powerful message that discrimination, on any level, should not be tolerated."
Senator Jeff Merkley, a cosponsor of the legislation, issued the following statement.
“This is a victory for equal rights. And it is a victory for our national security as well. All men and women serving our nation should be able to do so without hiding who they are. And our nation is well served by utilizing the talents of all Americans.”
News release from Senator Jeff Merkley
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