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. HypocrisyBites

    Ever work on saturday (the true sabbath)?

    December 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HypocrisyBites


    December 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HypocrisyBites

    I hate hypocrisy

    December 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rowdyboy

    Hey Lioness! Put down your jelly doughnut, potato chips, fried chicken, and oh yes your diet coke. Lick your fingers clean and write a letter to all the gay people who are in the service defending your enormously biggoted behind. ha're pathetic and you know it or you wouldn't keep responding to people's messages.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Oooh, rowdyboy, sounds like you have issues with fat people. Shame on you! How can you be so intolerant!!!!

      And nice try trying to prevent a comeback from me. You can dish it out but you can't take it, eh? Wuss.

      December 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Charlie

    The greatest benefit of this legislation is that it occupied the Lame Ducks' time so the clock will run out before they can pass more serious and harmful junk legislation.

    Every time I hear about this law, I'm reminded of the TV show M.A.S.H., where Corporal Klinger was wearing dresses, boas, and high heels in the middle of the Korean war so they would send him home on a Section 8 medical discharge.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lioness

    **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.**

    Ah, "hate speech". The code word for "censorship". You, Michael, are yet another example of fascism masquerading as liberalism. For stepping on my right to free speech, I will now report YOU to this boards host.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JB

    It strikes me that if your a soldier, your job is to follow orders. Thats it. That's all. You don't question. If you can't do that then you are not serving your country, you are not a good soldier. Who is fighting next to you is not your concern. To be concerned about that or anything but your orders and your task is to put yourself and your fellow soldier in danger. If you are unable to do that then you are not fit to serve. There isn't any other conern a soldier should have.

    December 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    I highly doubt anyone in here bashing McCain has or is serving as McCain is a hero amongst the military community. Too many fakers in threads like this. We should start asking people to post their ERB's or ORB's anytime someone in here claims to be in the military or to have served. That is if they even know what an ERB or ORB really is.

    December 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank

    I'm sure SGT J is nothing but a spineless POG that never left the wire and did nothing but bake cookies during his deployment. That is if he really served

    December 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pw

    Mccain needs a big sister beatdown!!! (LMAO)

    December 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert Hagedorn

    Do a search: The First Scandal Adam and Eve.

    December 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ella quent

    Some of the same arguments against gays in the military were used to discriminate against blacks in the military. The sky didn't fall then and it won't fall now. Besides at the rate the republicans start wars these days, america will need all the able bodied soldiers they can get. All you people who think gays should not serve..we're waiting for you to go sign up. That's what I'll just sit back on your fat butts drinking budweiser watching fox snooze. Screw all of you dumb a**.

    December 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. really?

    I wonder if McCain ever looked at old video tapes of himself and thought he was watching someone else?

    December 20, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Supervlad

    This is awesome! Bo#e$mok#4s now have the right to go off and dies in a foriegn country, and all it cost you dumbocrat pukes is a $700Billion tax break for the rich for years to come. I love smoke and mirror shows. Give people nothing, but make them work for it and they believe they have won, in the meantime use the other hand to steal your wallets. God I love republicans!

    You truly are stupid, stupid people.

    December 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MrMike

    Implementation of this policy will turn out to be a total non issue.

    December 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
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