Senate Repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Carl Levin about to announce the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

In a 65-31 vote, the US Senate voted on Sunday to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Clinton-era ban on openly gay men and women from serving in the US military.

“We righted a wrong,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, the neocon-independent from Connecticut who led the effort to end the ban. “Today we’ve done justice.”

Eight Republicans switched sides to vote in favor of the repeal, including Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Ensign of Nevada, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and George Voinovich of Ohio.

US President Barack Obama, who vowed to his gay support base that he would repeal “Don’t Ask,” hailed the vote. “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,” he said in a statement afterwards.

Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain, called the vote a sad day in history. “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage,” he said. “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.”

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