Skip to comments.Ending Military's Gay Ban Lets Obama Fulfill Another Clinton Promise(Cloture Vote 63 - 33)
Posted on 12/18/2010 9:32:56 AM PST by Red Steel
Nearly two decades ago, President Bill Clinton ignited the first of the firestorms that would define his presidency by announcing an end to the ban on gays and lesbians in the military.
Today, 18 years later, the U.S. Senate took the vote that means gays and lesbians will be able to serve openly in all branches of the U.S. armed forces. As the House has passed an identical bill, a final vote in the Senate will send the legislation to President Obama, whose signature will make it law and make it a signal achievement of his presidency to date.
Thus the service of gays in the military becomes the latest issue on which the agenda and fate of the last two Democratic presidents seem to be inextricably linked. As with the health care bill earlier this year, it would be fitting for the former present to be present at the signing ceremony, which should take place next week.
We have come to refer to this particular milestone in American social history as the repeal of the "don't ask don't tell" policy. It may be a curiously inverted term for the debate, but it harks back to the last time the issue consumed Washington and tells us a lot about how change happens.
Back in 1992, Clinton had promised several prominent backers he would overturn the longstanding military prohibition on homosexuality, and he tried to deliver on that promise immediately. He thought Congress and the country would go along because he had spoken of changing the policy in his campaign.
He was wrong. Resistance arose immediately within the military and among social conservatives, and Clinton soon found many in his own party deserting him in Congress. He was forced to fall back on a compromise.
The compromise had two parts. First, the military would stop trying to discover and discharge gays and lesbians. Second, those who let their orientation be known would still be subject to dismissal.
The policy was called "don't ask, don't tell." It pleased no one, but it let everyone move on. That is, after all, the essential function of a compromise. Congress codified it in 1993.
Over the years, the policy sometimes shorthanded as DADT made no new friends. Those who wanted homosexuality banned in the services rankled at the DADT restraints, while the gay community saw the enforced concealment as inherently shaming and discriminatory.
More than 13,500 active service members have been discharged under the provisions of this law. But beyond that, it has come to represent the persistence of gay closeting in the culture writ large. What had begun as an effort to change attitudes became a symbol of the difficulty in doing just that.
Clinton had thought he could make the break by imitating President Harry Truman, who had stunned much of the country in 1948 by ordering an end to racial segregation in the armed forces. Truman did it by fiat, simply ordering the military to integrate "as quickly as possible." Officially, the Pentagon saluted and complied. In reality, the process was labored and took years.
Still, Clinton thought the Truman model would work for him. He reasoned that the existence of gays and lesbians in the ranks was an open secret in the military and in the society in general. He thought he was not so much altering a reality as repealing a hypocrisy. But that sort of thing can get a president in trouble, too.
Saturday's vote will be called a great victory for President Obama, and indeed he can take great satisfaction in completing the policy change Clinton set in motion almost a generation ago.
The climate for this issue has warmed considerably in the interim, thanks to a long campaign by gay activists and civil rights groups and by moderating attitudes in the public and within the uniformed services as measured in recent surveys.
But as change continues, resistance to it also persists. That is the lesson of the national elections of 2008 and 2010. And it was the lesson of the Senate votes taken this Saturday morning.
On the same day the Senate agreed to repeal DADT, it failed to break another Republican filibuster threat against the DREAM Act. This is a bill allowing the children of people who entered the U.S. illegally allowed to earn citizenship if they go to college or serve in military.
Why was DADT repealed but the DREAM Act blocked? The difference was that four Republicans were willing to buck their party's filibuster threat and vote for the repeal of DADT, but there wasn't an equivalent showing from the GOP for DREAM.
The DREAM Act was at one time a bipartisan measure, and indeed it has attracted GOP support in the House. But in the Senate it is hostage to the same tactical game by which the minority party maintains much of the power to run the Senate the "virtual filibuster" that requires 60 votes to do anything.
It took nearly a generation to muster this many votes for gays in the military. How long will it take to find that many for the next meaningful change in the immigration laws?
That pretty much says it all, directly and indirectly...
Oh, this is nice, the Military is merely a instrument of political games.
And now we will be treated to the Pat Twoomey’s of the world acting as if the whole thing never happened..nothing to see here..hey, let’s talk Globalism!
This is the progressives/liberals/Marxist’s first step in insuring that we have to re institute the draft in order to maintain a proper force.
Names? We're taking names today.
And in 2012, we will change the Congress and the President: then reinstate DADT, and throw all the queers out of the military that came out of the closet.
The only reason DADT passed is because America was still asleep 3 years ago when a lot of the senators were elected.
"...pre-World War II Germany and its quest for reviving and imitating a Hellenistic-paganistic idea of homo-eroticism and militarism.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem"
This is going to piss of a LOT of infantrymen.
Now our CINC can serve legally!
There goes over 200 years of honor heritage and Simper Fi literally down the poop chute.
Little Bobby Casey Jr. did though.
As did Do-As-Much-Damage-While-Dying Arlen.
Repeal DADT,Carlos Hathccok moves cross hairs.
I know our military just loves being used in the political games of far left wing politicians. :)
Seriously though: Gays should NOT be allowed in the military. Why? Because they fight with their boyfriends, get pissy then leak our intelligence secrets to our enemy (see Bradley Manning).
And when recruitment numbers suddenly dive, the MSM, if they mention it at all, will probably blame it on global warming.
Arabs wouldn't mind accommodating them and the queers would love it!
0b0z0 is their CINC who's from the same whole cloth.
Thanks to our "fellow" Americans who voted him in.
"The Republicans voting "yes" were: Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass), Susan Collins (R-Alaska), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Collins had co-sponsored the repeal bill."