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. The REAL Levi

    My opinion doesnt matter if im not in the military? Your not any better than anyone else buddy. Being in the military does not make you superior, especially not if your a hateful bigot.

    December 19, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
    • HOORAY!!

      Correct, still doesn't matter

      December 19, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      A soldier's opinion about DADT carries more weight than some smug politically correct twit who loves the smell of his own farts.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. silesian

    Lots of places still ban gays in the military:Cuba, Venezuala, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Syria, Yemen.....

    The argument often heard from the extreme right, when progressives argue for a change to the status quo: "If you don't like it here, just leave the country"

    PS: This argument is idiotic, it is just fun to turn it around to see the hypocricy boil to the surface.

    December 19, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. id10t

    getthe f@ack real!! u minions r selfeshly and i include dems repubs screwing it up!! Animal farm is closer thn u dimwits guns and ammo while u can and let the best prepared rule cry babies

    December 19, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. G.A.

    This is the day President Obama lost my vote. I am totally against the repeal of DADT. Now, we will look weaker as a military. We lose our lethality as a Armed Forces because now openly gay and lebsian activity is allowed in our ranks. Soldiers now have to be concerned about living with a roommate being gay or lebsain. Very uncomfortable!!!!!

    December 19, 2010 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick Patterson

    Congratulations USA! You're only 10 years behind Canada and the rest of the first world.

    December 19, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. slavedriver

    One more step toward making the US a europeon failure. Obama and his idiot friends in congress (thanks Nevada for re-electing dirty Harry) are step closer to turning this country into a socialist state. It is pathetic that the majority in America is the minority now. I know that I longer cwn count on my government to stand up for what is right because they choose not to hurt someones feelings. The military isn't a soccer league for 5 year olds, where everyone gets a trophy for playing. Sadly this decision will come back to haunt us. The fall of the Roman and Greek empires started with this kind of sickness.

    December 19, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. slavedriver

    I will never again support our military. I can't believe I served in tne military 35 years ago just to allow the idiots in congress the chance to pull this type of thing. Can't wait for 2012 to finish what was started. No wonfer it is called a lame duck congress. Lame decisions abound.

    December 19, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      The best way to serve our military now is to vote more Dems out of office in 2012 – AND the Republicans who also voted for this farce.

      December 19, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. E6 Ranger

    I'm glad our troops can now defend the right to have sodomy around the world. The age of consent around the world is 12 to 14 years old. Now our troops can truly be the tip of the spear and help spread liberty, justice, and sodomy to these young boys around the world. Good job Harry Reid!!!!

    December 19, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. JDE

    No-Way-Jose, why don't you and Lioness get together and have little idiot babies?

    December 19, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Why don't you go get your boyfriend and suck d*ck under a rainbow?

      December 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GayVeteran

    I served my country for 18 years, first as an enlisted man then after obtaining a commission. I was forced out after my then wife, also in the military, began having an affair (a crime under the UCMJ). Faced with that pending charge, she told my battalion commander I was actively gay (untrue at the time). He suggested I resign rather than face the investigation. I did so, rather than put my kids through that. HER charges magically vanished and after 18 years of service, was out without so much as a pension. THAT's why DADT had to go, so people wouldn't be witch-hunted. As for john McCain – he destroyed 4 US aircraft. One more and he would have been a North Vietnamese ace!

    December 19, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      GayV, you are such an idiot when you dump on McCain for losing aircraft while serving his country. It just exposes you for the liar you are. No real military person would react that way. A loss of weaponry doesn't diminish the courage of a fighter. McArthur, Patton, Eisenhower etc. all lost weapons AND men when they won battles that gave the US a victory in WWII. You gonna dump on them too? Fool.

      December 19, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. phil

    @gay vet...sounds to me like you got what you deserved. Adultery is no small matter ya know. Did you think you could get away with it?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. phil

    @gay vet....oops! It was your wife who did it. Sorry about that, I misread.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. HypocrisyBites

    Let's examine the right's "defense of marriage" for a bit. John McCain divorces after his wife is in a disfiguring accident. Newt Gingrich's wife better hope SHE doesn't get cancer too. Mark Sanford thinks the appalachian trail is in Argentina. John Ensign getting mommy and daddy to buy off his mistress. Larry " I love my wife" Craig, Rush Limbaugh's numerous ex-wives having to live with gag orders (ironic, huh?), and oh yeah, RONALD REAGAN. They sure do care about marriage and families! If you care about marriage, outlaw divorce

    December 19, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. phil

    @E6 Ranger...thank you for pointing that out. (age of consent in other countries) This repeal of DADT isn't the last of it. Before long sodomy will be held in high-esteem and admired by most all of US. Sodomy used to be illegal in this country. I think it was Texas who held out the longest. Now it's legal, and if you don't like it they write you off as old-fashioned and pressure you to get up-to-date with the butt-mongers.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. GayVeteran

    Lioness – The fundamental difference you are trying to impart is that MacArthur, Patton and Eisenhower weren't personally responsible for one piece of equipment. You may notice I didn't cast aspersions on McCain's courage. Only his competence

    December 19, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
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