Senate Committee Takes Historic Step to End &quotDon't Ask, Don't Tell&quot

by HRC Staff

First vote ever to repeal the discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.

Washington - Today the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to repeal the failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. This historic action is the first time Congress has ever taken a vote to repeal the ban on openly lesbian and gay service members in its nearly 17 year history.

"The importance of this vote cannot be overstated - this is the beginning of the end of a shameful ban on open service by lesbian and gay troops that has weakened our national security," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The stars are aligning to finally restore honor and integrity to those who serve our country so selflessly."

The language of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act - which is supported by President Obama and military leadership - allows Congress to vote now to repeal the current DADT law with actual repeal occurring after completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1, 2010 and upon certification. Rep. Patrick Murphy will offer identical language as an amendment to the defense bill on the floor of the House by tomorrow morning.

"Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether service members are gay or straight what matters is that they get the job done. Those who wish to preserve discrimination in our military will continue to fight this progress but we will be there every step of the way to ensure that qualified men and women are allowed to serve their country, regardless of sexual orientation," added Solmonese.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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