Final Senate Vote Ends Odious DADT, 65 to 31 (Video)
December 18, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—The final up-or-down floor vote to end the discriminatory “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy” ended successfully today with a vote of 65-31. The vote was almost anticlimactic, as the earlier procedural motion to invoke cloture, was the real test vote, necessary to overcome Senate Republicans’ abuse of the filibuster. The cloture motion passed with a vote of 63-33. Two additional Republicans voted yes on the final vote, Sens. John Ensign (NV) and Richard Burr (NC).
President Obama released a statement praising the passage of the bill to end the ban on open service.
“Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend. 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.” [...]
“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.”
So, what happens now? The bill will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law. After that, the Pentagon will be given time to implement the new open service policy. But the good news, is the discharged of outed gay service members may end almost immediately, while the Military rolls out the new procedures.
“Obama has promised to sign the bill next week, making repeal a true legal reality. Then the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Obama must work out an implementation plan and officially certify that the military is ready to allow its gay and lesbian servicemembers to come out of the closet. Sixty days after that, DADT is “officially” repealed. Such is the language of the bill the Senate passed today and the House passed earlier in the week.”
“But repeal could effectively be in place far earlier than that. Following the cloture vote today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on the Pentagon to suspend all DADT discharges and investigations immediately, something gay rights advocates say Defense Secretary Robert Gates can order whenever he wants.”
This is a great, historic day for the advancement of civil rights in our country.
Watch the Democratic news conference after the cloture vote: