Senator Barbara Boxer led us in singing God Bless America. On the
stage in front of us were many of the courageous Senators and
Representatives who had helped to pass the repeal of Don’t Ask
Don’t Tell (DADT). The bill itself, signed by Speaker Nancy
Pelosi, was held high by three service members who had been
discharged under DADT. Singing next to my friends and colleagues,
surrounded by people who knew they could soon serve their country
as themselves, I was proud to be an American.
In early December, the bill to repeal DADT was attached to the
defense reauthorization – the bill that would allow the
government to continue to spend money on national defense. But the
measure failed to pass both houses, and it seemed as if repeal was
not going to happen in this legislative session. But in a
last-minute effort, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Majority Leader
Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) introduced a stand-alone bill that passed in
the House of Representatives. On the Senate side, Sen. Joe
Lieberman (I-Conn.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), and Sen. Mark
Udall (D-Co.) introduced a companion stand-alone bill. After a
filibuster by Republican senators that ended on Saturday, the vote
was imminent. The bill passed the Senate 65-31 and was signed by
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and sent to the President today, Tuesday the
Although President Obama will sign the legislation into affect
tomorrow, the process of repeal is potentially a long road.
According to the new legislation, Congress has given authority to
the President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary
Gates to determine when the military is ready for open service.
When that determination has been made, through meeting with the
Pentagon and the different branches of the military, they will then
sign a certification allowing for open service. After the
certification is signed, the military will have 60 days to prepare
for open service. Only then will our armed services be open to all,
regardless of their sexual orientation.