Home / Culture and Society / Updated: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Passes Senate 65 to 31

Updated: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Passes Senate 65 to 31

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Updated 3:30 p.m. ET:

Seventeen years after going into effect, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is about to be repealed. The United States Senate this morning overcame a major hurdle in repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Several Republican Senators crossed party lines, voting to end debate on the repeal measure, which passed 63 to 33. This afternoon the Senate voted 65 to 31 to repeal the discriminatory policy.

The DADT policy, in place since 1993, bans openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military, forcing gay and lesbian service members to lie to lie or risk discharge from the service should their sexual orientation become known.  The policy was put in place during the presidency of Bill Clinton to forestall overturning a ban on gay and lesbian individuals to serve in the military.

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has been a major champion of the repeal measure in the Senate. Lieberman brought the cloture vote to the floor, stating that repeal is “neither a Conservative nor Liberal issue,” but an issue of ending discrimination and “righting a wrong.”

Republican Senators Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AL), and Olympia Snowe (ME) joined the Democrats in voting to end debate and push the measure to the Senate floor for passage. The House passed the repeal 250-175 earlier this week.

Earlier this morning, the Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), which would have given the children of illegal immigrants who either serve in the military or are attending university a pathway to citizenship. Although five Republicans, including Senators Richard Lugar (IN) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted in favor of ending debate and sending the measure to the Senate floor, enough Democrats voted “no,” to block the controversial legislation from passage. It failed, getting only 55 of the needed 60 votes to move the DREAM Act forward.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • PleaseDon’tYammer

    Mark Zuckerberg may have been selected by TIME magazine as Man of the Year, but Sen. Joe Lieberman should be declared “Mensch of the Year” for his leadership in the repeal of DADT.

  • Joe really came through. As much as he’s been a disappointment through the last couple of years, he really did a great job shepherding this one through the senate!

  • Arthur

    It’s about time. As a formal marine who is gay, this is a very proud monent in history.

  • Update coming as soon as the final vote is finished in a few minutes.

  • This is wonderful! There hasn’t been much good news out of Washington lately.

  • “Only” 55 votes for the Dream Act. In any sensible country, that would be enough!

  • Handyguy…it’s insane that 55 votes–A majority–doesn’t win. McCain mentioned a “bizzaro” world. He’s right, but not what he was referring to!

  • I’ll admit, I’m thrilled with todays vote and grateful to the Senate for repealing this discrimina­tory law. However, we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back too much and claim this is a referendum on the greatness of America.

    Twenty-fiv­e countries already allowed military service by openly gay people: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg­, Netherland­s, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerlan­d, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

  • Thank God… or whomever you worship. Of course the Republicans and the tea baggers will say that “God” has commanded them to do their best to strip the bill to something totally useless come next year.

    Where are the marines when you need them?
    Gen. James F. Amos still says our fighting men will lose legs and arms because of the distractions caused by flaming faggots in the ranks.

    Yes, I can see those poor defenseless virgin marines screaming for help in the heat of battle, while those horny sissie beasts have their ways with them.

    Who is he kidding?


  • Barbara, McCain supported the DREAM Act. And it would have passed had the Democrats not taken out all border enforcement elements and added unreasonable requirements at the last minute. Their arrogance defeated the bill.

    As for DADT, I was very disappointed that more Republicans didn’t support it, but I thought it was very telling that John Ensign backed it. He no longer has anything to lose, so he stopped pandering to the religious right and did the right thing. The rest of our Republican representatives need to realize that they’re all in the same boat he is if they don’t stop kowtowing to extremists.


  • As for DADT, I was very disappointed that more Republicans didn’t support it

    Glad you said “disappointed” and not “surprised”…

  • John McCain may have supported the Dream Act at one point, but he certainly didn’t vote for it this time. The only Republicans voting yes were Bennett, Utah; Lugar, Ind.; Murkowski, Alaska. Alleged New England ‘liberals’ Collins, Snowe and Brown went conservative this time out and voted no.

    Special boos also go to the Dems voting no, who could have turned it around without any more GOP help: Baucus, Mont.; Hagan, N.C.; Nelson, Neb.; Pryor, Ark.; Tester, Mont.

  • Cannonshop

    Better news, is that according to the papers out here, they fixed the UCMJ with regards to homosexuality at the same time, so there won’t be a return of the anti-gay witchunts that brought DADT into being in the first place (it was supposed to, at the time, stop the practice of military investigators LOOKING for homosexuals to chase out of the service.)

    The fix to UCMJ is more important than repealing a failed policy. I saw a guy get chased out when I was in-on the RUMOUR he was gay (this was before DADT by something like three months). The likely gains in terms of retaining good soldiers outweigh the hassles and offended sensibilities of religious reactionaries who may still be serving.