In some very positive news for the gays and lesbians of America who selflessly serve and defend our country in the armed forces, the Clinton-era military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), the bill that forbade gays and lesbians from serving openly, has surpassed it's last "congressional hurdle" and passed in the Senate, 65-31.
After years of efforts by policy makers, Congressmen and women, as well as hordes of discharged military personnel, the discriminatory policy has been lifted and from here on gays and lesbians can serve our nation's honor openly and honestly.
Human Rights Campaign's President Joe Solmonese heralded the victory saying:
Think of the kids out there tonight, watching this on the news – kids who are bullied for being different, who live in fear daily that their parents will hate them if they find out the truth... Think of the relief, the empowerment, the sense of possibility they'll feel, knowing that the U.S. militaryhas said: if you're lesbian or gay, you are worthy. We want you to join us, side by side, as equals.
The bill was voted upon in the final moments of this congressional year, and lead by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) and Susan Collins (R-M). The measure gained momentum these last few days as Senator Collins was able to piece together a group of fellow Republicans willing to cross party divides, consisting of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Ensign of Nevada, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).
President Obama championed today's repeal, an effort he has long supported, stating,
By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love."