Finally ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy is dead

By Greg Hernandez The United States Senate on Saturday finally struck down the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

By a vote of 65 to 31, the senators are ending a 17-year struggle over a discriminatory policy that forced thousands of Americans from the ranks – many with decades of faithful service – and caused others to keep secret their sexual orientation.

This is wonderful news and so long overdue. It’s been a shameful policy for gay and lesbian members of the military who have only wanted to serve their country openly without fear of being discharged.

President Barack Obama will sign the new law next week and said in a statement: “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.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman led the effort in the senate to end the ban with the opposition led by his longtime friend Sen. John McCain of Airzona.

“We righted a wrong,” Lieberman said. “Today we’ve done justice.”

According to the New York Times, McCain remained unrelenting in his opposition: “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage. And we could possibly and probably, as the commandant of the Marine Corps said, and as I have been told by literally thousands of members of the military, harm the battle effectiveness vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military.”

Eight Republicans bucked their party in backing the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, potentially risking a backlash from the conservative base while giving the historic vote a stronger bipartisan finish than many expected.

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