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. banasy

    If you took a bullet twice, you did it for Americans, ALL Americans! Not just the ones whose lifestyles you personally approve of...

    December 19, 2010 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Semper Fi

    No-Way-Jose, thank you for your service. Also, thank you for standing up for what's right on this forum and being the voice of reason that represents the views of the majority. The military was once a place for America's finest. My high school boys were planning to follow in my footsteps, but after learning of today's breach of trust by our de-elected lame duck representatives in our nations capitol, they have decided on another career path.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Thank you for your service, Semper Fi. And your courage in speaking up. The politically-correct police can brainwash liberals but they can't intimidate a REAL soldier. I salute you and Senator McCain.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • silesian

      Semper Fi, If your son's love of country is that shallow that they are not willing to defend it because of this policy, then I am grateful that they will be civilians. Indeed, it is better to have an unsafe country than to serve next to gays. Amen, brother.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. La Voz de la Razón

    All the bickering and backbiting on this forum is just a sample of exactly what we can expect to see happening within the ranks of our armed forces after this act of treason on Capitol Hill today. Opinions are like bottoms... everyone has one. That's fine until someone tells me I have no choice but to adopt the opinion of someone I disagree with. Hold on tight people, we're in for a bumpy ride. What happened at Fort Hood with Nidal M. Hasan is going to pale in comparison to this situation.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. d-bo419

    I am one that HAS worn the uniform and knows first-hand how distractions and stupidity can cause death on the battlefield, All I want is to remind folks there is the term friendly fire for a reason. Some are mistakes and some intentional. There were hundreds of 2nd Lt.s killed in Nam because of lack of jungle fighting experience giving insane orders within days of their first landing. So...my advice to the gays wanting to fight 'Openly', do so with extra caution and watch your back. You will be the minority. 6ood Luck and God Bless!!!

    December 19, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. No-Way-Jose

    A few words from General Patton on this subject:

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80767604/

    December 19, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • *yawn*

      Look, troll all you want, but don't bring Patton into this. Your video is a fake, and I suspect your supposed service as a soldier. A real soldier would know that Patton spoke with a high-pitched voice, not with some horrible impression of George C. Scott. So don't wrap yourself in my flag and pretend to quote a real American hero while you preach your hate.

      December 19, 2010 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. @La Voz

    A man inflamed with lust for another man's anus is NOT a disabled person and should NOT be treated like one. Where did you come up with this idea? Disabled people didn't choose to be disabled. Sodomist's choose their debauched lifestyle. Have you been brainwashed?

    December 19, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. ognywogny

    Well, fine then. Let the straight troops resign and let the gays be the military. Maybe that will make everybody happy.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lioness

    But hey, isn't it wonderful that the great military expert Lady Gaga approves of the repeal! We can all sleep soundly tonight, knowing that her type of logic reflects that of the current Democratic party (and a few lost souls among the Republicans as well).

    December 19, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Kassab

      You know what "Lioness"? It really is one thing to express your opinions on message boards, but it is another thing entirely to spew hate vile, disgusting hate speech. I have reported you as an abuser to this boards host.

      December 19, 2010 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tod

      I think lioness is a in the closet "straight" man

      December 19, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      I'm all 100% straight woman, Tod. If you were a 100% straight man, you'd be able to tell. If you're otherwise, go suck a d*ck under a rainbow.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The REAL Levi

    Nice to see the blind, hateful, hippocritical, version of christianity is still alive and kicking. Gays have just as much of a right to fight for their country as anyone else.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. The REAL Levi

    PS levi your kinda making me look bad

    December 19, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Turtle

    Shame on you, CNN, for giving voice to the FRC as if they were a legitimate Christian organization.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. The REAL Levi

    You know, with the ignorance and the stupidity

    December 19, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. HOORAY!!

    You were all wrong about Obama and you are all wrong about repealing "Don't ask, don't tell". Honestly, if you don't serve in the military in some shape or form, your opinions don't matter. This is going to hurt us rather than help. I can't wait for the new powerpoint presentations I'll have to sit through so that I will know how to treat openly gay servicemembers.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Hooray, in my days in Nam, soldiers knew how to treat guys who were stupid enough to vamp around. That won't change now with DADT. Not in the least.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sgt. K

    My God people, both the Corpsman in my unit were obviously gay and the whole battalion liked them because they save lives. IMHO Being gay is not a choice. I did not choose to be born. I met my share of girlfriends' parents who saw that as enough to discredit me as a human being. Until you experience discrimination, you know nothing.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. HOORAY!!

    I am happy to see everyone is concerned about the military again. People resent us because we fight for them and they don't want us to get a paycheck, but open the gates to gays and overweight people and now everyone has an opinion

    December 19, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
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