Senate clears way for 'don't ask don't tell' repeal

The Senate has just voted to end debate on a bill that would lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military, essentially clearing the measure for passage and signature by the president.

 

Lawmakers voted 63 to 33 to end debate on the current policy, put in place by former president Bill Clinton, informally known as “don't ask don't tell.”

 

The Senate could vote on final passage of the measure as early as today but it will most likely happen on Sunday or Monday. 

 

“We are on the verge of ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' for good,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the vote “This is one of those moments in our history when we stepped up and squared our policies with the values this nation was founded upon.”

 

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network praised the vote and asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to suspend all investigations into gay members of the military while the repeal is being implemented. 

 

Before the vote, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an opponent of the repeal, warned that allowing gays to serve openly could serve as a dangerous distraction to those in the military who are serving in combat positions.

 

“Today is a very sad day,” McCain said, pointing to the injured combat veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. 

 

“Mistakes or inattention or distractions cost Marines lives,” he said. 

 

Democrats who backed the bill included Sen. JIm Webb, D-Va., a former Secretary of the Navy, who cited the Pentagon report supporting repeal. 

 

“Without this I would not be voting to repeal this,” Webb said, holding up the report.

Beltway ConfidentialPoliticsSenateUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The Telegraph Quartet is pictured during its SF Music Day 2020 recording session at the striking, beautifully lit and almost empty Herbst Theatre. (Courtesy Marcus Phillips)
SF Music Day goes virtual with Herbst broadcast

Performers pre-record sets in empty, iconic theater

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

The admissions process at the academically competitive Lowell High School is set to change this year due to coronavirus restritions. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s selective admissions process put on hold this year — and more changes may be in the works

School board votes unanimously to use normal student assignment lottery for competitive school

Most Read