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05/27/2010

The imperfect path to #DADT repeal: 16-12 in Armed Services Committee!!!!!

by Jeremy Hooper
Moments ago we received word that the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to repeal the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. This historic action is the first time Congress has ever taken a vote to repeal the ban on openly lesbian and gay service members in its nearly 17 year history.
Senate Committee Takes Historic Step to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [HRC]

This ball's in motion. It looks like this is how we're gonna do it. So that being the case: It's time we fight like hell to secure every last vote and stop fighting each other to secure the perfect. The good is going to have to be good enough.

**ROLL CALL: Collins breaks party lines for our side; Jim Webb for the other side:

Yes:
Carl Levin (Michigan)
Robert C. Byrd (West Virginia)
Joseph I. Lieberman (Connecticut)
Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii)
Bill Nelson (Florida)
Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Mark Udall (Colorado)
Kay R. Hagan (North Carolina)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Roland W. Burris (Illinois)
Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)
Edward E. Kaufman (Delaware)
Susan M. Collins (Maine)

No:
Jim Webb (Virginia)
John McCain (Arizona)
James M. Inhofe (Oklahoma)
Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
John Thune (South Dakota)
Roger F. Wicker (Mississippi)
George S. LeMieux (Florida)
Scott Brown (Massachusetts)
Richard Burr (North Carolina)
David Vitter (Louisiana)
***

**In the meantime, SLDN offers this reminder to those soldiers who still remain vulnerable while this balance between pragmatism and principle is struck:

The Senate Armed Services Committee 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, including the reserves and the national guard, 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. The bottom line: gay and lesbian service members remain at risk for discharge and cannot serve openly."
BREAKING: Senate Armed Services Committee Passes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Amendment [SLDN]

**From the DNC:

Washington, DC— Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a policy that has meant that some brave and dedicated American servicemen and women have been required to leave the armed forces and others have been prevented from serving openly. In response to the historic vote by the Committee, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine released the following statement:

“Today’s vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a truly historic moment for our nation and for the LGBT community. I would like to commend the Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who, with their vote today, justly moved forward efforts to repeal a policy that for the past 17 years has kept our nation’s lesbian and gay soldiers from serving openly. Through the continued leadership of President Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders, we have taken an important and necessary step toward ending a discriminatory policy that has kept American men and women from serving the country they love because of their sexual orientation. While today was a Senate Committee vote and full Senate consideration awaits, the Committee vote has cleared a crucial hurdle in repealing the policy and one that marks the beginning of the end for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell ensures that our military is as strong as possible and promises that the most dedicated and able Americans are defending and securing our nation. From translators to the infantry, and all the way up through the ranks, LGBT Americans are already serving in uniform, and the eventual repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will ensure that these brave men and women can do so without fear of being discharged.”

**UPDATE: And now the full House joins in the fun!!!!!!!!

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