Cheers and jeers greet Senate vote to repeal DADT
December 18th, 2010
09:41 PM ET

Cheers and jeers greet Senate vote to repeal DADT

News of the U.S. Senate's vote to end "don't ask, don't tell" Saturday drew emotional reactions from both sides of the issue, with supporters of the repeal hailing it as a civil rights landmark and detractors calling it a threat to the armed services.

The reaction was loudest from those who supported a repeal of the Pentagon policy, which had officially banned open gays and lesbians from serving in the military for 17 years. Many reserved their praise for Republicans who had crossed traditional party lines to vote for repeal.

"With this vote, we have crossed one of the final hurdles standing in the way of ending the failed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," said R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, one of several gay-rights organizations to lead the fight to defeat the policy.

The group praised Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for her leadership in bringing other Republicans across party lines.

"Senator Collins, in particular, has long been the point of the spear in fighting for repeal among Republicans.  She showed tremendous leadership in crossing the aisle to make this vote happen, continuing the fight when many thought hope was lost.  Senators Brown, Kirk, Murkowski, Snowe and Voinovich also deserve our thanks for taking a principled stand for the integrity of all American service members. "

Former army lieutenant and gay-rights activist Dan Choi, who was discharged from service after publicly coming out in 2009, said the vote sent a message to closeted gays and lesbians that they have the support of the government.

"It's something that we've all expected. We know that when you're on the right side of justice and history, you don't ever go backwards. So this is the real moment," Choi told CNN.

"This is for all of those people in the military who are languishing, not able to come out to themselves, because they are so ingrained with this self-hatred, and it's a message. I hope it stiffens their spine."

Moments after the vote was announced, the Twitterverse lit up with comments over #DADT, but one in particular stood out that summed up the sentiments of many.

"We did it! #DADT is a thing of the past," Senator Harry Reid tweeted at performer Lady Gaga, an outspoken critic of the policy.

Gaga, who arrived at the 2010 MTV VMAs with openly gay service members and made viral videos calling for the end of DADT, also tweeted her reaction to the vote.

"Can't hold back the tears+pride. We did it!i Our voice was heard + today the Senate REPEALED DADT. A triumph for equality after 17 YEARS," she said.

But not everyone regarded the repeal as a step in the right direction.

"Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose - to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Christian organization that promotes what it calls "the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built."

"This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military's ability to fulfill its mission," Perkins said in a statement.

People willing to voice their disapproval of the repeal were in shorter supply than their counterparts.

Those who chose to register their discontent cited the Pentagon report on "don't ask, don't tell" that found opposition to repealing the policy ranged from 40 to 60 percent among Marines and some combat arms specialist units.

"the only ppl who care one way or the other about #dadt, and have it matter, are combat troops. 60% say it hurt their units' ability to fight," conservative commenter and Tea Party activist Brooks Bayne tweeted Saturday.

"i'm more concerned about natl security and morale of combat troops than i am someone's lifestyle choice being validated politically," he later tweeted.

Before the final vote, Senator John McCain, a vocal supporter of "don't ask, don't tell," said "today is a very sad day," according to the Atlantic.

Allowing gays to serve openly in the Marines could prove to be a deadly distraction, McCain said.

He also lambasted his colleagues for pushing the vote through in a lameduck session.

"We are jamming - or trying to jam - major issues through the Senate of the United States because (Democrats) know they can't get it done beginning next January," McCain said, the Sacramento Bee reported.

After the vote, McCain's camp did not issue a comment on its website or through his official Twitter account.

He did, however, voice his approval of the failure of DREAM act, which offers a path to citizenship to some illegal immigrants who entered the United States.

Known formally as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, the DREAM Act fell five votes short of the 60 needed to be considered for final passage.

“With respect to the DREAM Act, I have great sympathy for the students who would benefit from passage of this legislation. I have met personally with many of them and their stories are heart-wrenching," he said on his wesbite.

“However, I cannot put the priorities of these students, as difficult and unfair in many respects as their situation is, ahead of my constituents and the American people who demand that the Federal government fulfill its Constitutional duty to secure our borders before we undertake other reforms."

The parallels between the two votes did not go unnoticed in the Twittersphere.

"Bittersweet day: #DADT repealed, and #DREAM Act squashed. Maybe one day we can all have equal rights," @smartygreg tweeted.

Others has a less sympathetic view of the Senate's busy day: "What do #DREAM, #DADT, and Food Safety all have in common? They don't create any jobs."

soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. levi

    politics from the Latin words poly (meaning many0 and tics (meaning blood sucking creatures)
    politics means = many blood sucking creatures.. go figure? need any more proof?

    December 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Not true, but funny all the same.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SGT J

    I'll say it again, for those of you that are upset by this repeal of the law, come to my office or go to your nearest local military recruiter, raise your right hand and sign up, and if you're not brave enough to do that you need to shut your pie hole and let us do our job. Gay Americans are dying and sacrificing a lot to give you the right to spout you're stupidity.. I say you go relieve them personally!

    December 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I would join, but do to some mistakes I made as a youth, your bigoted superficial military does not deem me as acceptable.

      December 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGT J

      Which means you're probably a felon and not the type of person we would want nor can trust. That's not stupid or bigoted, thats just smart business

      December 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • levi

      As Tim said I would love to but because of mistakes made 14 years ago you bigots would prefer actively unsafe lifestyles,aides, and pink camouflage rather then allow me to enlist.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • levi

      you sir are someone I would never actively trust. Especially how you would so dress down a soldier like Mr. McCain who has most likely shown more heroism in his life and seen more active duty then your pencil pushing pink camouflage wearing self has ever even seen on tv. I come from a long line of soldiers. All having faced real combat, some who never returned. None of which would disrespect a fellow soldier such as you have. They may not always agree but they hold respect for those who have really served. Go back to peeling potatoes.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      I'm glad that I am retired military. SGT J, why would ANYONE want to put on a uniform if they are forced to be tolerant of gayness. Your challenge to have people put on a uniform or be quiet is ludicrously counterintuitive. You're really screwed up in the head, mister. You're a disgrace to the uniform and so is everyone else that thinks like you.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azumaguy

      Thank you Sgt J for your position on DADT and your service.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      *applause* Bravo! Great impression of an actual soldier. The only flaw is the gay-loving part. That looks pretty fake.

      Sorry, Charlie, but I'll take the word of the military leaders over anonymous little you. The top uniformed generals of the Army and the Marines opposed this repeal. Their word cuts more ice with me than yours does. Faker.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. net

    to no way hose.i think you got that mixed up with that sorry no good president we had for 8 years. hitler who sent our young kids over there to get slaughterd over a lie how worse can that be?

    December 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. levi

    To support and condone an actively family destabilizing life style that is unnatural and unsafe is tantamount to saying that drug use and every other unsafe life style should also be accepted.. But let me guess you who accept this life style are also the ones that preach women irresponsibility(miss named womens rights,which really are not womens rights , because real rights come with responsibility's for ones actions) over a child's life aren't you? sick and twisted. it is a sad day in this country.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shadic

      It's only "twisted" if you're busy following a two thousand year old book as 100% truthful gospel. And abortion and birth control are "murder" only if you think the same of menstruation.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mary

    Beats me why anyone would want to go into the military, but if gays and lesbians wish to do so, they should certainly have the right.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. phil

    Gay's openly served in the Roman army back in the days of Jesus. They were only allowed to become Christians if they repented for their sins just like everyone else. We learned what sin is from the bible, and now you claim sodomy isn't a sin? That's like learning math from a textbook and defiantly thinking one plus one equals zero.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      that is the most historically ignorant post I've read in some time. Roman soldiers were converting to Christianity in the time of Jesus?? There was no Christianity when Jesus was alive, seeing as he was Jewish, and was promoting the religion of Judaism, as he was to be its savior. The Romans were very happy with their pagan polytheistic beliefs until about three hundred years after Jesus was dead. Nothing like referring incorrectly to 2000 year old mythology to back up your bigoted and misguided beliefs.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shane

    The military no longer follows my religious beliefs. I gonna try to get out

    December 18, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Good for you man. Get out while you still have time, before destruction comes upon it. God will not bless the US unless the US first blesses Him.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Aww, you poor thing. You have no problem killing people, but having to serve alongside a gay person is a dealbreaker for you? There is nothing honorable about you, or your twisted beliefs.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azumaguy

      What a backwoods re tard

      December 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      Dang right, it's a deal-breaker all day long. When you life is on the line you cannot afford to have some disease infested goon trying to touch your privates when you're asleep, or having a private fantasy in the locker room, etc., etc. Any straight folks that are going along with this are either closet gays or just kidding themselves. This in your face gay sh_t is going to have to stop, or people are going to either get hurt or be killed over it.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • IH8

      I agree, I don't goto church, but even I see this will be bad and all the f** lovers mocking him, go **** ********

      December 19, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Scary to think that the military followed your "religious belief" before today, but OK. Have a good life!

      December 19, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    @ SGT J
    You want to explain how it is good business not to hire felons? Do you not recall that the military used to take people who chose the military over jail? Do you want to tell me that those people were wrong and you're folks are right?

    December 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • geno

      They were offered the choice of conviction or the military therefore they were NOT actually felons also the offer was not made to possible felons but to those facing misdemeanor convictions, Get your facts straight,

      December 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M

    No-Way-Jose: Gay service personnel are willing to take a bullet for the rest of us. Were you? For the record, through no fault of my own, I failed the enlistment physical during Viet Nam but I tried. President Obama's father was from Kenya and visiting legally. The President was born in Hawaii, a US Territory and than a state of the United States. His mother was a US citizen. The FBI vetted him thoroughly under the Bush administration. Angry: Find us some Biblical quotes that support DADT. There are Biblical invocations against "Bearing false witness"
    You're ignorance and bigotry are showing.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      So, if I don't like chimos, serial killers, or gays, I'm a bigot? Take a look in the mirror, or just read your comments. Sort of like the pot calling the kettle black, I'd say.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      M said, "Gay service personnel are willing to take a bullet for the rest of us. Were you?"

      The answer was, I did. Twice. But not for the tur_ pecke_s.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      M, thanks for your reasoned thinking. There's no arguing with the ilk like Jose. Some people just can't climb out of the past and their ingrained bigotry. He says he took bullets for this country, and I have no reason to dispute that. But the fact that he thinks so little of his fellow Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line for his continued freedom make me think very little of him.

      December 19, 2010 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. jaserp

    Gays should just fix themselves instead of making everyone else accept their abnormality.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • geno

      I think it's the "straights" like you that need fixing!

      December 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      jaserp – right on.

      Apparently word got out and all the gays are trolling this web site. Let's get out of this cesspool before we get covered with their "cess".

      December 18, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azumaguy

      Boy, are you being left behind in the dustbin of history. It ain't 1940 no mo". Yew kaint beat up ho mo's no more, get it? Tard!

      December 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      Azuma – So, you can't beat them up anymore, eh? Somebody better tell all of them solders that are going to be doing exactly that. You're living in a state of denial if you believe any part of what you said.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Jose, let em try. We're tough enough to be in the military, and we're tough enough to kick a bunch of mo-foe's asses. Care to step to the front of the line?

      December 19, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Scott, I'll take you on myself. Gays aren't tough, except the more mannish lesbians (most of whom would frighten a Gorgon with one look. UUUGGGLLY!!!!)

      December 19, 2010 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. mbal

    Why even give Perkins a voice in this? The guys is a completely backwards moron. Do not encourage or legitimize his "organization" by quoting him.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azumaguy

      I'm with you, Imbal. I can't believe CNN is repeating a single word this throwback is saying, he is a TOTAL BIGOT!

      December 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Ah, how the libs try to censor anyone whose opinion differs from theirs. How open-minded of them!

      December 19, 2010 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. tomcat

    STOP look at your own lives. who here is so perfect to be judge and jury? want what you do put under a microscope? give me a break. grow up open your eyes and realize the world has changed.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Amen.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Yeah, and change is good, right? Look at the change Obama has brought about. Double-digit unemployment! A stock market in chaos! Our enemies laugh at us and our allies are embarrassed for us. But hey, at least gays can now serve openly in the military! America is saved!

      December 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    I'm a straight disabled vet who knew gays in the military during VietNam. DADT was nothing more than more government denial & was nothing but hypocrisy. It never should have been a policy & thus should go away. All you naysayers go put on a uniform & shut up.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azumaguy

      Rick, thank you for your service and your honesty. I didn't serve then but I knew guys – after they got out of service – that were in deep recon in Nam who were lovers. One died from a Viet Cong bullet, serving US interests. Gays will serve and die alongside of straights. It should be a non-issue. Rules against harassment and fraternization cover all service members.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tired

    Tired of gays, why can't we get some real problems solved instead of focusing on a small group of people. The one thing Obama passed that I didnt care about when he ran was the one thing he actually got done..Gitmo still open, Still in Afghanistan/Iraq, Health Care has no public option and is worse the way it is now. The bank "reform" was to light..tax cuts for the rich..

    December 19, 2010 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. 20+ years

    I've been serving for over 20 years now, all over the world including Iraq. I am defintely looking forward to retiring shortly – hurrah! I'm an old guy in military terms (over 40 now). Just from my own observations, young troops just don't seem to have a problem with gays as my generation or those older.

    I will tell you that combat does put things into perspective – you just want to live and make it home to your loved ones, and if a gay Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine is going to help you make it home alive – you are thankful for their service. If a gay soldier can help interpret for your team, or a gay medic can stop you from bleeding to death – you respect them for having the dedication and courage to get the job done. I would rather have them there than not – I would rather live and accomplish the mission than die if I don't have to.

    For those that say gays should be kicked out of the military – thanks for supporting the ouster of qualified soldiers that could save my life or help my young soldiers make it home alive. Because you feel uncomfortable around gay people as you eat your Big Mac and drink a Starbuck's coffee with your family – I should be denied the best personnel available to protect the FOB or go out on patrol. Yeah – thanks a lot you damned Patriots.

    It is odd that in country when there are openly gay soldiers from Britian or Australia no one cares – they're just the intel guy or EOD bloke.

    I don't know – really. War does suck, and luckily I made it through to retirement (almost anyways). The military never asked me to agree with anyone's religion or personal beliefs – they asked me to to uphold duty, honor and country. I put my life on the line everyday for the USA, and if gays are willing to do the same, then let them do so without compromising their integrity. Just my 2 cents if anyone cares...

    December 19, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • No-Way-Jose

      Man, how'd your brain get so messed up? PTSD?

      December 19, 2010 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Thank you sir, from the bottom of my heart, for your life-long service to this country., How someone like "Jose" can offer such a flippant reply to you is beyond me. All I can say is that history will be the judge. And you, sir, are on the right side of the debate. I hope you enjoy your well deserved retirement!! Live long and enjoy all that you have earned. We are eternally in your debt.

      December 19, 2010 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Wow, the pic of those two guys hugging really convinces me that gays are totally fit for military life. *barf*

      December 19, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • JP0

      Well said! Thanks you for your comments and your service to our country.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Thank you, 20+ years. Your comments leave me optimistic for the future of our military. Enjoy your well-earned retirement.

      December 20, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
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