Friday, May 28, 2010

Congress Takes Historic First Step to Repealing DADT

Yesterday, the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted for an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill that would repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law prohibiting lesbian, gay and bisexual service members from serving openly and honestly in the U.S. Military. In the House, the amendment passed by a 234-194 vote, and in a closed session of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the amendment passed by a vote of 16-12. We are enormously grateful for Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Representative Patrick Murphy’s (D-PA) steadfast leadership and for every member of Congress who voted on the right side of history to end this deeply flawed law.

The measure, supported by both Congressional leaders and the White House, does not formally rescind “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” until the Pentagon completes a review, due December 1, 2010, and the President and top Defense leaders agree that abolishing the 1993 prohibition would not adversely impact military readiness. The Pentagon would then send its recommendations to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and action on the repeal of DADT would likely occur in the first quarter of 2011. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that he’s “comfortable with proposed legislation that seeks to repeal [DADT] because it includes very clear language that gives senior leaders the final say in whether it’s implemented.”

It’s very clear that yesterday’s vote on repealing DADT is a hugely important first step to moving closer to a full repeal of this ban, but it’s important to remember that the hard work has just begun. The full Senate still needs to approve this measure, and we need all of our members and supporters to contact their Senators to help secure the 60 votes needed to rescind DADT. We can only reach 60 supportive Senate votes with your help. Please take a moment to call your Senators today and tell them to support the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which would protect our brave lesbian, gay and bisexual service members and their families.