WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives has voted to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The bill, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act of 2010, which was introduced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy passed by a vote of 250 to 175. Legislation containing language identical to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act is currently pending in the Senate.
Statement by the President on the House Passage of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010
I applaud the House for passing, with bipartisan support, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. Legislative repeal is supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The process contained in this legislation allows for a smooth and responsible repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a way that maintains good order and discipline in our military ranks. Indeed, all of the Service Chiefs have said that when this law is changed , they will implement an orderly transition effectively and efficiently. As the comprehensive study by the Department of Defense clearly shows, we can move to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and our national security.
I particularly want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Congressman Patrick Murphy for their leadership on this issue. I have consistently called for the repeal of this law. Moving forward with the repeal is not only the right thing to do, it will also give our military the clarity and certainty it deserves. We must ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally by their country.
Statement by Press Secretary Geoff Morrell
“Secretary Gates is pleased that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. He encourages the Senate to pass the legislation this session, enabling the Department of Defense to carefully and responsibly manage a change in this policy instead of risking an abrupt change resulting from a decision in the courts."
Statement by the ACLU
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” was passed into law in 1993 and, since 1994, more than 14,000 qualified and committed service members, both men and women, have been discharged under the policy simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. President Obama called for its repeal in his State of the Union address, the highest ranking members of the military have called for the policy to end and a report released last month by the Pentagon found that a large majority of respondents to a survey of active-duty and reserve service members and their families say that ending the policy would not have an adverse effect on military operations.
The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the House vote and strongly urged the Senate to pass the repeal legislation, ensuring it reaches the president’s desk by year’s end.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“We are closer now to the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ than ever and we cannot lose momentum. Gay and lesbian service members have been fighting and dying for their country alongside their straight counterparts without being able to live their lives openly for years. It is flatly unfair to force those serving our country to live without dignity or honesty. This policy’s demise is long overdue. The Senate has precious little time to ensure a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It must act now.”
The ACLU’s letter supporting the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act can be found here: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/aclu-letter-support-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-act-2010-house-amendment-senate-amendment-
Joint statement issued by Center for American Progress Action Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans, Stonewall Democrats, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United, and Third Way:
“Today’s vote by the House of Representatives provides another resounding indication that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell can and should be repealed legislatively this year. With this second vote in favor of repeal, the House joins our top military leaders, a super-majority of Americans, the President, and a 60-vote majority in the Senate in agreeing that it is time to give the Pentagon the power to carry out its carefully crafted plans for ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. With the Pentagon Working Group report in hand and the Secretary of Defense pleading for Congressional action, there is no more time for excuses—the Senate must follow the lead of the House and pass the bipartisan repeal legislation championed by Senators Lieberman and Collins before the end of the 111th Congress.”