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. GayVeteran

    And if McCain can attack me, turnabout is fair play

    December 19, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lioness

    **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.**

    Yeah, just like it's better to have an unsafe country than to keep DADT in place. Let the gays have their way at any cost to the coherence and camaraderie of the military. THAT'S what's important. Amen right back at ya.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. HypocrisyBites

    Gayvet-sounds like you got railroaded by a tramp

    December 19, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lioness

    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**

    If he got the job done, and he did, then screw your opinions of his competence. The military thought differently, and I'll take their word over yours any day.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lioness

    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**

    Why do people who support gay marriage think they have to tear down people with marriage troubles to prove their point? Are they trying to belittle the importance of marriage, so that people will finally say, oh well, you're right, marriage is a joke, might as well let gays have it too. Isn't that kind of an insult to both sides of the issue?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. GayVeteran

    What job DID McCain get done? Getting captured? Making statements on behalf of his captors? Lincoln Savings and Loan?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Fighting for his country. Suffering in a POW camp. Here, educate yourself about how a real man, a real hero, and a real soldier behaves:

      **John McCain's capture and subsequent imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi. McCain fractured both arms and a leg ejecting from the aircraft, and nearly drowned when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him. McCain was then transported to Hanoi's main Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton". Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, beating and interrogating him to get information; he was given medical care only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral. His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of major newspapers. McCain spent six weeks in the hospital while receiving marginal care. By then having lost 50 pounds in a chest cast, and with his hair turned white, McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week. In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years. In mid-1968, John S. McCain, Jr. was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purposes, and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially. McCain turned down the offer; he would only accept repatriation if every man taken in before him was released as well.**

      Now read that carefully. Try to think. If you're really a veteran (I have NO doubts you're gay) then you ought to have some respect for McCain. If you don't, then you're a faker, or a disgrace to the military and thank god you're out of it now.

      December 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. know your bible

    Soldiers considering themselves to be Christian are being forced by their leaders to do that which God forbids. "Quit mixing in company with them if you do not want to become sharers with them in their sins and in their destruction" say's God's word. You Christian soldiers need to decide if you will "Obey God as ruler rather than men." I suggest you leave the military asap, because this is just the start.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. HypocrisyBites

    Lioness – All emotion, no intellect. Where did I insult people with marital problems? Unless you consider adultery just a "marital problem", I didn't. Sounds like the peoplke I mentioned are the ones making a joke out of marriage. I certainly didnt

    December 19, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. HypocrisyBites

    Hey know your bible I served in the army and I'm jewish. When I joined, I thought I was serving the people of the united states, not a deity

    December 19, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. know your bible

    So the Jewish God approves of gays?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. HypocrisyBites

    GayVeteran – thank you for your many years of service to ALL americans, even the blithering idiots who hate you for being a human being

    December 19, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. HypocrisyBites

    Hey know your bible – ever eat a cheeseburger?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. HypocrisyBites

    Crab, lobster, pork?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. know your bible

    I don't hate gays, I hate what gays do. Why? Because just like the military follows orders from their leaders, so do I. But my leader isn't a man. God's orders are clearly recorded for US in his word the bible as I noted above.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. HypocrisyBites

    Ever wear garments made out of different materials?

    December 19, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
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