The House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday took critical steps toward repealing the policy that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
In a 16-12 vote, the Committee approved the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill. Later in the day, the House approved the amendment in a 234-194 vote. The full authorization bill now has to be cleared by both chambers. In the Senate, Republicans have threatened a filibuster.
Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
"We applaud the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee for taking this important step toward the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This discriminatory policy has for 17 years prevented patriotic citizens from serving our country in the armed forces. Because of this policy, thousands of qualified men and women have been forced out of the military simply because they are gay, and countless others have been deterred from serving in the first place. The policy does a disservice to men and women who have served this country with honor and stands in contradiction to our values as Americans.
"The Senate Armed Services Committee and the House have done the right thing in voting to eliminate Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We urge both chambers to act quickly to finally put us on a path to end institutionalized discrimination in the military."