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Cross-Post: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Passes Senate 65-31


Imagine 2050 Staff • Dec 19, 2010

First Posted: 12-18-10 by Elise Foley for Huffington Post.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 65-31 on Saturday to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, defeating a 17-year policy of banning gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military. Six Republicans initially crossed the aisle to vote against the policy: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

The Senate vote is a vindication of Obama’s decision to push for congressional repeal as opposed to unilateral executive action, though activists note he could have done both.

In the first procedural vote on Saturday morning, 63 senators voted in favor of the bill and 33 against. In the final passage, Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) switched their vote to “aye,” despite initially voting against moving forward with the bill.

“The important thing today is that 63 senators were on the right side of history,” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told HuffPost after the first vote, adding he sees the bill as a “stepping stone to further advances for the gay and lesbian community.”

Gay-rights activists owe a small debt to their Latino brethren, as the DREAM Act, which the House and Senate have been considering at the same time, showed the way forward for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Roughly a week before a crucial cloture vote failed, said one top aide, Democratic leadership staff saw that the same legislative tactic could be used to bring a standalone version of the repeal bill to the Senate floor as was currently being used to bring DREAM up. For needlessly complex reasons, a bill that comes to the Senate as a “message from the House” faces fewer obstacles to a floor vote than one that originates in the Senate.

Continue reading at www.huffingtonpost.com.

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