Lawmakers stand on right side of history in vote to end ban on open service
WASHINGTON – Today the House of Representatives voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” paving the road to the end of the 17 year old law. This historic action follows a vote for repeal in the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a tremendous step toward finally ending the ban on openly lesbian and gay service members. It was the first vote ever in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the ban on open service.
“Lawmakers today stood on the right side of history,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “This is a historic step to strengthen our armed forces and to restore honor and integrity to those who serve our country so selflessly.”
The language of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – which is supported by President Obama and military leadership – allowed Congress to vote now to repeal the current DADT law with actual repeal occurring after completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1, 2010 and upon certification. With successful House passage of the amendment, the final NDAA bill must be passed in both the House and Senate and the two versions reconciled before being sent to the President for his signature.
“Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether service members are gay or straight; what matters is that they get the job done. Those who wish to preserve discrimination in our military will continue to fight this progress but we will be there every step of the way to ensure that qualified men and women are allowed to serve their country, regardless of sexual orientation,” added Solmonese.
Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., was the lead sponsor of the measure in the House and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., championed the amendment in the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.