(7:15pm) It all started with the following email and now reactions are pouring in, as the SASC today made history with the first vote ever to repeal DADT.

Via Dallas Voice, this quote attributed to Aubrey Sarvis:


ALL,

We are hearing repeal vote may come in SASC [Senate Armed Services Committee] within the hour, the amendment has been laid down; it will not be OPEN to the public. And in the House, we hear from Patrick [sponsor Patrick Murphy] that the House vote could also come within the hour! Tune in if you are not already at your posts watching and listening.

Aubrey

From The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:


The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a measure Thursday 16-12 that would begin the process of dismantling the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits gays and lesbians for serving openly in the military.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the lone Republican on the committee joining 15 of her Democratic committee members to approve the measure as an attachment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia was the only Democrat to vote against it.

As of 6:50 p.m. Eastern, it was unclear whether the House would vote on the measure Thursday night or Friday morning. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence that she had the support to pass the amendment from Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania.

“I think the votes are there,” she told reporters Thursday during a press conference.

Full Roll Call Vote:


Yes:

Carl Levin (Michigan)

Robert C. Byrd (West Virginia)

Joseph I. Lieberman (Connecticut)

Jack Reed (Rhode Island)

Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii)

Bill Nelson (Florida)

Ben Nelson (Nebraska)

Evan Bayh (Indiana)

Claire McCaskill (Missouri)

Mark Udall (Colorado)

Kay R. Hagan (North Carolina)

Mark Begich (Alaska)

Roland W. Burris (Illinois)

Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)

Edward E. Kaufman (Delaware)

Susan M. Collins (Maine) – only Republican

No:

Jim Webb (Virginia) – only Democrat

John McCain (Arizona)

James M. Inhofe (Oklahoma)

Jeff Sessions (Alabama)

Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)

Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)

John Thune (South Dakota)

Roger F. Wicker (Mississippi)

George S. LeMieux (Florida)

Scott Brown (Massachusetts)

Richard Burr (North Carolina)

David Vitter (Louisiana)

Elaine Marshall on Richard Burr:

“Richard Burr is once again on the wrong side of history; he’s stuck in the past. ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ doesn’t work for our national security or our values. We need to honor the commitment of ALL men and women who want to serve, and end this policy of discrimination. I’m pleased by the move today toward repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ and I urge the Senate to repeal this policy by the end of the year.”

Press releases from Servicemembers United, HRC, The Task Force and The Palm Center below the fold.Just released presser from Servicemembers United:



DADT Repeal Amendment Passes in Senate Armed Services Committee

After 17-Year Battle, Milestone Called “Historic First Step Forward”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05/27/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, today proudly commended the passage of the amendment before the Senate Armed Services Committee to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The amendment, which was offered by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and strongly supported by Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), passed by a vote of 16 – 12.


“This initial victory today in the Senate Armed Services Committee is an historic first step forward in the drive to finally get the onerous ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law off the books forever,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“All of us who have served under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and who have been impacted by this law will remember this day as the beginning of the end for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 would repeal 10 U.S.C. 654, the basis of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ after the completion of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group study and after a certification is made by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the study’s recommendations for an implementation management plan are sufficient.

Nicholson added,


“We are especially grateful to the courageous members on the Senate Armed Services Committee who took a principled stand and voted for this amendment, which fully respects the ongoing study, the Pentagon leadership, and the men and women of the U.S. military. We would especially like to express our sincere appreciation for the tireless efforts of Senator Levin, Senator Lieberman, Senator Udall, and Senator Gillibrand and their staff in working to secure the support to make this first victory a reality today.”

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, passed in 1993 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, has resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 men and women because of their sexual orientation, and has led tens of thousands more to voluntarily terminate their careers because of the burden of serving under this outdated law. There are an estimated 66,000 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals currently serving in the U.S. military and an estimated 1 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit www.servicemembersunited.org. For the latest information on discharge numbers, polling, statistics, studies, and other archival and reference information related to the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ issue, please visit www.dadtarchive.org.

                     ###

Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

HRC’s press release:



Senate Committee Takes Historic Step to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”




First vote ever to repeal the discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to repeal the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.  This historic action is the first time Congress has ever taken a vote to repeal the ban on openly lesbian and gay service members in its nearly 17 year history.


“The importance of this vote cannot be overstated – this is the beginning of the end of a shameful ban on open service by lesbian and gay troops that has weakened our national security,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“The stars are aligning to finally restore honor and integrity to those who serve our country so selflessly.”

The language of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act – which is supported by President Obama and military leadership – allows Congress to vote now to repeal the current DADT law with actual repeal occurring after completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1, 2010 and upon certification.  Rep. Patrick Murphy will offer identical language as an amendment to the defense bill on the floor of the House by tomorrow morning.


“Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether service members are gay or straight; what matters is that they get the job done.  Those who wish to preserve discrimination in our military will continue to fight this progress but we will be there every step of the way to ensure that qualified men and women are allowed to serve their country, regardless of sexual orientation,” added Solmonese.



The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

                30

The Task Force:


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to Senate Armed Services Committee vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

WASHINGTON, May 27 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s vote to include repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military ban as part of the Department of Defense authorization bill.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force


“Today’s vote marks an important step toward ending an outdated, unnecessary and costly policy that discriminates against courageous and qualified people willing to risk their lives by serving in the military. We thank the committee members who voted to advance the repeal measure, joining with the 78 percent of Americans who believe ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should become a policy of the past. We call for a prompt vote by the full Senate that will get us even closer to permitting lesbian, gay and bisexual service members to serve openly and honestly.

“While this is progress toward ending an unjust law, we continue to call for clear assurances of protection, a specific timeline for repeal implementation, and an immediate halt to the discharges.”

Download a high-resolution photo (http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/release_materials/rcarey_cc10_hires.jpg)

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org (http://www.theTaskForce.org) and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce (http://www.twitter.com/thetaskforce).

                            –30–



The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.

The Palm Center:



PALM CENTER: Historic Senate Vote Open Door to Gay Service in the Military

The Palm Center released the following statement in response to votes in the Senate Armed Services Committee allowing openly gay service in the military following a series of statutory triggers:


“It was never going to be easy to dismantle the gay ban, but the White House and Congressional leadership have launched a process that will do just that,” stated Aaron Belkin Director of the Palm Center.

“For seventeen years, taxpayer money has gone to fire Arabic linguists, doctors and mission critical specialists in every field and every service because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee has said that prejudice cannot be more important than national security. Keeping good troops is good policy.”

Under the legislation passed by the Armed Services Committee, the ban on gays in the military would be lifted following report by a Pentagon Working Group, certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen and a 60 day review period by Congress. The Senate will now consider the repeal language as part of the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill.

Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff stated,


“Today’s vote represents an historic effort by this Congress and the White House. President Obama’s leadership has done more for gay troops than any government in American history. The United States has now taken a step toward joining America’s allies in twenty-five foreign militaries which allow openly gay service.”

Neff added,


“The commitment from Chairman Levin and Senator Lieberman has been tremendous and their efforts will make a real difference in the lives of gay troops.”

Louise1

Louise1

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