Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy Repealed

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

NOTE: A correction has been made to this post.

This afternoon, the United States Senate voted to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—a policy that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military for seventeen years. According to CBS News: “Eight Republicans joined nearly every Democrat to vote for repeal. The Republicans voting for repeal were Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), John Ensign (Nev.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and George Voinovich (Ohio).”

The final vote was 65-31.


CBS News

Huffington Post

33 thoughts on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy Repealed”

  1. On the incredible expanding DADT thread at Volokh, a lot of people made the point that in ten years time the American people will look back at all this fuss and wonder why it was so difficult. Another frequently made point was that in a generation or less nobody will admit they ever opposed open service.

    I looked at most of the posts on that thread, but I didn’t see many who oppose repeal seriously contesting those statements. There doesn’t seem to be much “joined up thinking” going on in the opposition to repeal. It’s almost as if they’re just playing that game bullies play when you let them know you are upset and want your hat back.

  2. From Matt Taibbi (12/19/2010)
    Asked and Told: DADT Finally Goes Down

    A former Hill staffer friend recently told me that basically two things were holding up Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. One was that a minority of legislators in Bible-Belt states weren’t going to sign off on the repeal no matter what. The other was that there was some internal opposition in the government not on moral grounds but on financial grounds — apparently there were some who weren’t stoked about the future prospect of paying benefits to the partners of gay federal employees.

    If a handful of religious loonies and a few government bean-counters can hold up something this obvious for this long, one can imagine how hard it will be to pull off something like, say, the breaking up of the too-big-to-fail banks.

    Meanwhile, in exchange for standing up during what history will surely recognize as one of this era’s great Calls to Douchedom, 31 Republican Senators won themselves the at least temporary approval of a minority of religiously bigoted voters in their home states. It was a nice opportunity to cast an essentially meaningless but politically expedient Nay vote for those many Republicans who’ve recently been facing bitter challenges from the Tea Party/far right, people like John McCain:

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading opponent of the measure, said liberals with no military experience were pushing a social agenda on troops during wartime despite reservations among the fighting forces.

    “They will do what is asked of them,” McCain said of the troops. “But don’t think there won’t be a great cost.”

    The thing I liked about McCain’s quote is that the “liberals with no military experience” he is referring to were actually senior Pentagon officials, who pushed the repeal effort over the edge into reality by undertaking a lengthy internal review and concluding that the vast majority of modern troops are comfortable with the idea of serving with gays and lesbians. Not even the Pentagon is against this thing anymore, and there were still 31 Nay votes — amazing. Anyway, it’s all over now, but man, did that take a long time!

  3. Yikes, the Volokh Conspiracy thread on this topic is certainly hot! well over 400 comments. mostly from or addressed to the same people who keep bringing up the same old tired canards from 1993.

    Rather than toss this juicy little morsel in there where it would be lost in the din, I’ll post it here.

    It’s a retrospective on how one of the most powerful and respected military forces in the world went from actively hunting and expelling homosexuals to putting recruitment ads in gay magazines and sending people to Pride festivals in less than ten years, and it speaks for itself.

  4. I think those who give Clinton a hard time about the compromise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are right, but there is danger in missing the historical context.

    Clinton had originally promised to remove the restrictions on open service, which would have made the US quite close to the front of a wave of homosexual emancipation at the time. The religious loonies mobilized well, the military was caught off guard, and quite frankly public opinion wasn’t ready for it. Congress actively considered a complete ban on service by homosexuals.

    Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provided a halfway house. It was a very unjust law and I don’t defend it, but it was a defensive posture that at least did not entrench the post-war extreme anti-gay military policy in law.

    What has changed in the meantime? Public opinion, which now leads Congress in overwhelming opposition to the unjust restrictions. That happened because, one by one, gay people have continued to come out, telling their friends, colleagues and family, one by one.

  5. Elaine M., yes you’re right. Although I knew that Scott Brown’s election was due to the death of Ted Kennedy, news of which even made headlines in Britain, I neglected to check the date of Senator Kennedy’s last election so I got the impression that Senator Brown had at least until 2014. I try to keep up with US politics but often the nuances pass me by.

  6. Mike S.:

    You were reading my mind on this one.

    ” Those military men who have expressed their opposition obviously haven’t read or understood military history, particularly the Spartans.”Three years ago, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was pretty clear about his stand on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.”

    “A former war hero, McCain said he would support ending the ban once the military’s top brass told him that they agreed with the change. ”

    John McCain DADT Repeal Reaction: ‘Today Is A Very Sad Day’

  7. Eniobob,
    I think we might agree tha Clinton’s Presidency was an exercize in self serving sellout to those who voted for him. Sadly, in my opinion Obama is following this model.

    As for DADT to me personally anyone weighed down by homophobia is a moron, or in the closet. Those military men who have expressed their opposition obviously haven’t read or understood military history, particularly the Spartans. Heterosexuality does not guarantee soldierly skills and being gay doesn’t mean inability to defend ones self. The shame to our country is that this has taken so long to come about and unfortunately the battle may be won, but the war for Gay rights will unfortunately continue.

  8. People seem to think he(Clinton) was the greatest thing since Pasteurized Milk in IMHO Clinton passed a lot of policies that hurt a lot of people,some of that is showing today with the plight of the 99ers,and others who are really down on their luck.Compromise?

  9. The other day Bill Clinton and the president that “joint news conference” that every one seemed to be all gaga(sorry Lady)about?

    And Clinton said that the deal that the president got on this tax bill was in clintons mind the best he was going to get,well I just thought of something.remember that word “compromise” that seems to be so popular now?


    The policy was introduced as a compromise measure in 1993 by President Bill Clinton who campaigned on the promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.[5] At the time, per the December 21, 1993 Department of Defense Directive 1332.14,[6] it was legal policy (10 U.S.C. § 654)[7] that homosexuality is incompatible with military service and persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were discharged.[5][8] The Uniform Code of Military Justice, passed by Congress in 1950 and signed by President Harry S Truman, established the policies and procedures for discharging homosexual servicemembers.”

  10. ‘Bout time.

    Certainly a point that has to rankle the homophobes is that this repeal makes holding up gay marriage a lot tougher. This issue is travelling roughly the same path toward equality as blacks took in attaining their total civil rights and women theirs. No one should have to go through this kind of hell to achieve equality in America where it’s allegely enshrined in our Constitution, but the intense opposition points out why we still need laws on the books to protect these constituencies in the future. It’s unfortunate that the path is fraught with obstacles from bigots and religiosos, but the momentum, direction and goal are clear and inevitable.

  11. eniobob: “Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, this vote is literally going to mean the end of America:

    We are now stuck with sexual deviants serving openly in the U.S. military…”

    Considering how many female soldiers are sexually assaulted every year in the military I’m inclined to agree with him. Oh wait, that’s not what he was talking about was it? :-p

Comments are closed.