Don't Ask, Don't Tell repealed after 17-years

Print Date: 
February 3, 2011
Source: 
Moon Valley High School Rocket Reporter
Author(s): 
By Danny Mehmedi

Original Post here http://my.hsj.org

On Saturday, Dec. 18 the Senate attained the 60 vote majority required for the passage of the proposed repeal of the U.S military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, after a 17-year-old effort to remove the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

The Democrats, who were for the most part, in favor of the bill, won the majority 65-31.This however, was their second attempt at passing the repeal, as their first attempt in early December fell just three votes short of the required majority, failing to receive votes from anyone in the GOP, along with a few key Democrats.

The bill was re-introduced as a standalone bill and quickly pushed through the House and Senate and signed by President Barack Obama.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had promised to get the bill on the president's desk before the Senate adjourned for the holiday, and she did not disappoint.

Pelosi issued a statement on Dec.9 in which she said that, "an army of allies stands ready in the House to pass a standalone repeal of the discriminatory policy once the Senate acts."

Said "army of allies," not only managed to get the standalone bill through the senate and on the President's desk, but also managed to block the Republican's attempt at a revote that would block the bill, stuffing them 63-33.

The democrats, who believed this Clinton-era policy was unconstitutional, rejoiced in the passage of the repeal, while republicans who feel that the passing of the bill was just a partisan move by the democrats to pass as much liberal legislation as possible before they lose the senate majority when congress reconvened after the winter recess, were less than thrilled, feeling that this policy change would negatively effect U.S. armed forces in war time.

President Barack Obama (D) apparently isn't of the same opinion, dismissing conservative outrage and concern when he said, "as Commander in Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known."

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (D) felt that the policy change was necessary for the country stating in the New York Times, "we righted a wrong."

Associated Professor of Political Science at San Francisco University Aaron Belkin said that, "it has long been clear that lifting the ban will undermine the military, and no reason to fear the transition to inclusive policy," and that certifying the repeal quickly should ensure that the transition happens in an orderly fashion with little to no military disruption.

Arizona Senator John McCain (R) didn't share the President Obama's enthusiasm and confidence in the repeal saying that it was a "sad day in history," and addressed the Senate saying that he hopes that, "we understand that we are doing great damage," in regards to military effectiveness.

The Center for Military Readiness is of a similar opinion, stating that the bill was passed with "needless haste," and "will impose heavy burdens on the backs of military men and women."

They also surveyed men and women serving in the Marine Corps and Army branches of our military, and reported that 32% of Marines and 21.4% of Army soldiers would leave the military sooner than planned if the repeal made it to the President.

Whatever their opinions on the issue or political affiliations, most Pentagon officials have come to the consensus that they would rather see a congressional repeal of DADT than a court ordered repeal rendering the former policy unconstitutional, which was more than possible as many state and federal judges were attempting to change the policy from the bench.

The main argument for those in favor of repeal was that Don't Ask Don't Tell turned gays and lesbians into second class citizens, while those for the repeal felt that it is imperative to make no policy changes during war time.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN), an organization that fights for equal treatment of gay persons in the military, was overjoyed when the policy was changed, exclaiming, "Today's vote means gay and lesbian service members posted all around the world can stand taller knowing that ‘don't ask, don't tell' will soon be coming to an end."

Sarvis and the SLDN spent much of their time participating in rallies, demanding that something be done about what they felt was and unfair and unconstitutional policy.

Before the repeal, more than 14,000 men and women were forced to leave the military because of they're sexual orientation.