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Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Is Repealed

Menelaus supporting the body of his fellow warrior Patroclus,
the lover of Achilles in The Iliad

The final vote began at 3:02 p.m., Washington time, and the result was declared at 3:30:  the Senate voted to repeal DADT by 65 to 31.  Eight Republicans voted with the Democrats; all the nay votes were by Republicans; one Democrat did not vote.  So the measure passed by more than two to one.

Thanks be to God.

Whether you are in the military or out of it, or want to be in it or not, this is an historic moment, one for great rejoicing - because this action by our elected representatives secures our equality, our civil rights, much more firmly in American law and culture. Now it will be much harder to argue that gay men and women who have openly fought and bled and died for their country should be denied any of the rights and freedoms common to all Americans.

Today we are all a little more equal, a little more free, a little more normal, as the world conceives that to be.  And I have lived to see this day. Joy.

Wounded American troops in Afghanistan, 2007.
Which is the gay one?
Who cares?
Caution:  Before anybody gets too exuberant, keep in mind that today's vote, while tremendously significant for the future, does not accomplish all that is needed at one stroke, but begins the process. The Wall Street Journal explains:
Passage of the repeal does not does not immediately revoke the policy. Before "Don't Ask" is officially ended, the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must sign a letter certifying that the necessary policies and procedures are in place within the military for gays to openly serve.  [note from Russ:  this means the Pentagon will have to work up all those things first, and in quadruplicate, natch, which will take some time to do; and they may stagger implementation across the services.]  Full repeal would take effect 60 days after that certification letter is transmitted to the congressional armed services committees.

Advocacy groups warned that gay service members may still be discharged during that interim period. Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran who is executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that provides legal advice for service members affected by the ban, said, "Gay, lesbian and bisexual service members posted around the world are standing a little taller today, but they're still very much at risk because repeal is not final."


Staircase Witch said...

Russ, I am so, so happy to hear this. About g-----n time. It's not just a great day for gay and lesbian soldiers, but for our country, too. Our national security just got that much better.

Russ Manley said...

Yes indeed. A wonderful thing for all Americans.

Mareczku said...

Thanks for sharing this. Good news for sure. Watching it on TV. Hope that you are well. Staying cool here in PA. But not a lot of snow yet. Just chilly.

Russ Manley said...

No precip here either Mark, sunny and cold at night. Stay warm.

Stan said...

Tears filled my eyes when I heard the news of this yesterday. To the youngsters I'll bet this is no big deal but great news for us old timers. I'm almost 60 y/o and hope that I live to see the day when we truly get all our civil rights here in this country.

Russ Manley said...

Amen, brother. I wept too.

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