Congress Approves 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal


First it was the full U.S. House of Representatives and then the much-anticipated Senate Armed Services Committee who voted 16-to-12 last night in favor of an amendment for future contingent repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT). Despite last-minute lobbying by the Pentagon service chiefs, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined 15 Democrats in approving a conditional repeal of DADT, the discriminatory Clinton-era policy that bans openly gay and lesbian service members.

Sen. Collins, the only Republican to vote for the amendment, said it passed after “vigorous and aggressive debate,”NPR reported.

Seventeen years and 13,000 discharges later, President Barack Obama, who has been criticized for moving too slowly to dismantle the law, made the following statement: “I have long advocated that we repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ and I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight.Key to successful repeal will be the ongoing Defense Department review, and as such I am grateful that the amendments offered by Representative Patrick Murphy and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin that passed today will ensure that the Department of Defense can complete that comprehensive review that will allow our military and their families the opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process.Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in-Chief. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.”

Future repeal is contingent on a deal brokered earlier this week that requires the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group’s report on implementing the change, due Dec. 1, certification signed by the president, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, and assurance and that the new policy is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

Rep. Murphy, a U.S. Army Iraq war veteran who introduced the DADT amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act in the House, stated in a release: “Congress took a historic step toward repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and toward ensuring that every American has the same opportunity I did to defend our nation. Patriotic Americans willing to take a bullet for their country should never be forced to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. I will not rest until the repeal of this discriminatory policy that hurts national security is signed into law.”

Aubrey Sarvis, a U.S. Army veteran and executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), echoed these sentiments in a statement. “The U.S. House and Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee both passed a historic roadmap to allowing open military service, but it doesn’t end the discharges. It is important for all gay and lesbian active-duty service members to know they’re at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011.”

Sarvis, one of several activists who crafted the compromise pushing DADT to a vote yesterday, criticized the ninth-hour posturing by Pentagon service chiefs and said they “seemed to have forgotten that they are not the policy makers here. That role in our government rightly belongs to Congress and it was properly exercised today in the dismantling of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

Click here to see previous articles on this topic.

Latest News

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.)

Rep. Jahana Hayes Attacked in Racist Campaign Town Hall; 1 in 4 Americans Unemployed According to New Data from Axios; and More

Racist trolls interrupt Zoom town hall hosted by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman. “I am not OK,” wrote Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) in a moving post describing a violent attack that took place at one of her recent campaign events. Ten minutes into the Zoom town hall for one…

reproductive, benefits, workplace

The Importance of Reproductive Benefits in the Workplace

With President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to take the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, the issue of reproductive rights has again become a hot button topic. While Ginsburg repeatedly voted against restrictions on birth control and abortion access, the historically conservative Barrett is expected to tip the…

International African American Museum Receives New Markets Tax Credits from TD Community Development Corporation

Originally published on newscenter.td.com. TD’s investment will help the non-profit create 186 new jobs, exhibit space TD Community Development Corporation (TDCDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TD Bank, N.A., announced today its allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, to assist…

TIAA Survey Reveals Saving for Retirement is the No. 1 Contributor to Feeling Financially Resilient for Working Individuals, but 60% of People are Falling Behind Goals

Originally published on TIAA.com. The global COVID-19 pandemic not only presents a tremendous threat to people’s health and lives, but is also challenging the financial security of families across the nation. According to new research released today by TIAA, a leading financial services provider, nearly 60 percent of adults say…

domestic, violence, awareness

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resources

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place in October to raise awareness about this critical social and public health issue. One out of every four women and one out of every 10 men will experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime according to…