In a historic move, the U.S. Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by a 65 to 31 vote this afternoon. Once signed into law by President Barack Obama, the 17-year ban on gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly will be over.
Republicans who voted in favor of repeal were Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and George Voinovich of Ohio. Republicans who were not present for the vote were Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“This is incredible news for equality and justice. We commend the senate for repealing this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell," said ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins. "This is a huge win for civil rights here in Idaho. We have to remember there are many Idahoans serving in the armed forces, and now they can be judged on the content of their character and their skills as soldiers. It opens up their work environment to live openly and honestly, which is one of the core values of our armed services.”
Openly gay Vietnam veteran John Redding who served three years active duty in the Navy and then three years in the Navy Reserve told Citydesk: “The repeal is long overdue ... I think it’s a good sign of perhaps things to come.”
Earlier this week Redding wrote a letter to his Congressman Mike Simpson, urging him to vote for repeal. “His response was weak,” said Redding. “He sent me a form letter that did not address my concerns, he basically blew me off.”
Redding says that Simpson voted on the wrong side of history as did Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. “I think they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Former Idahoan Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said today in reaction to the vote that Republicans have destroyed the military.