History in the Making

Today, history has been made. The United States Senate defeated a filibuster led by John McCain (R-AZ) and went on to vote 65-31 in favor of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly. The House of Representatives had already voted 250-175 in favor of repeal earlier this week. It is important to point out that when the repeal was originally defeated, Democrats had tacked the DREAM Act onto the bill containing the repeal of the policy, prompting every single Republican and Independent and many Democrats to vote against it. The bill approved today was a solo act, completely unadulterated, not tacked onto anything.

Scott Brown (R-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), George Voinovich (R-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Ensign (R-NV) and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) were the Republicans voting in favor of the repeal. It was originally enacted in 1993 by Democrat president Bill Clinton, who had previously vowed to end the outright ban on all gay and lesbian candidates joining the military. Over the past 17 years, tens of thousands of capable soldiers have been discharged from all four branches of the military.

Yet to come are the signing of the bill by President Obama, certification before Congress of the Pentagon report released earlier this month on the effect of lifting the ban, and a 60-day wait period before any changes are allowed to take effect. It will be a little while before we can actually start serving, but we’re on the final track to making this discriminatory policy a thing of the past.

So raise a glass, folks. History has been made today and we’re a part of it!