The US House has just voted 250-175 to end one of the most sweeping anti-gay pieces of legislation in American history that was signed into statute by President Bill Clinton (D). The other, the Defense of Marriage Act, was also signed into law by Clinton. He campaigned on both anti-gay laws in his re-election bid in 1996. Just sayin’.
The House voted Wednesday to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy that for 17 years has forced gays desiring to serve in the military to conceal their sexual identity. The 250-175 vote propels the issue to the Senate for what could be the last chance for now to end the 1993 law that forbids recruiters from asking about sexual orientation while prohibiting soldiers from acknowledging that they are gay.
It’s “the only law in the country that requires people to be dishonest or be fired if they choose to be honest,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.
Implementation of any new policy should begin “when our singular focus is no longer on combat operations or preparing units for combat,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.
The issue also has split the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other senior military leaders support lifting the restrictions on gay service, pointing to a recent Pentagon study showing that most people in uniform don’t object to serving with gays. But the head of the Marine Corps, Commandant Gen. James Amos, repeated his opposition this week, saying that lifting the ban during wartime could cost lives. “I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction,” he said.
The White House, in issuing a statement in support of the repeal, stressed that the change would go into effect only after the president, the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation is consistent with military readiness, recruiting and retention and unit cohesion.
Your move, Dingy Harry. But you are too busy with your $8B pork-laden, special interest funding bill to worry about other things, I suppose.