December 18, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
Obama: Senate took ‘historic step’ on ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

President Obama said the Senate took a "historic step" by passing "Don't Ask" legislation (Blade photo by Michael Key).

President Obama said the U.S. Senate took a “historic step” on Saturday by advancing the legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and called on the chamber to send the measure to his desk.

“Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend,” Obama said.

On Saturday, the Senate invoked cloture on legislation that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by a vote of 63-33. A final vote for passage was expected later in the day.

Obama said an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” means the U.S. military will no longer be denied the service from gay troops who are “forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay.”

“It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly,” Obama said. ”I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.”

The complete statement follows:

Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend.  By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.
 
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.  And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness. 
 
I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done.  It is time to close this chapter in our history.  It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.  It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly.  I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

3 Comments
  • I’m glad with finally won! Too bad it wasn’t ENDA that got passed! That would have benefitted alot more of us than ending this ban!

  • What?? Per Senator Gillibrand, “This is about equal rights, equal justice”… What?! Very nice of you to say, thank you, so eloquent — but — but my question is: HOW MANY YEARS UNTIL THERE IS COMPLETE EQUAL RIGHTS & JUSTICE FOR LGBT PEOPLE?!?!?! ONE? TWO? FIVE? TEN? THIRTY?! I’m sorry, but without having FULL equality under the law, your pretty words are simply window dressing, a flowery bouquet, a myth, a lie (without complete action). It’s nice that maybe YOU might think that, but obviously the DEMOCRATIC PARTY DOESN’T SEE THE NECESSITY OF GRANTING FULL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW. THEY DO NOT. They do NOT. Do the courts need to hold your feet to the fire for EVERYTHING??? That’s not leadership. As Lieberman says, this bill passing is FOLLOWING society (and the rest of the world). It is not to be confused with leadership. It is not leadership. We need LEADERS.

  • and stop deleting my posts

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