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A Historic Straight-Up Vote

Jim Burroway

December 18th, 2010

Remember when an important component of the overall strategy to end DADT was that it be attached to the Defense Authorization Bill because, the political theory went, a lot of frightened legislators wouldn’t vote for it as a stand-along bill and including it in the larger “must pass” bill would give them cover because nobody wanted to vote “against the troops”?

And remember when they said the same thing when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was attached to last year’s Defense Authorization Bill?

The Hate Crimes Act passed using that strategy, but this year the bulk of GOP Senators and a couple of Dems were willing to vote against the troops in order to keep LGBT people from serving openly. Instead, a straight up-or-down vote on DADT’s repeal as a stand-alone issue has passed the Senate after having sailed through the House earlier this week.

As far as I can tell, this is the very first piece of pro-gay legislation that is not attached to any other piece of legislation making its way through both chambers of the U.S. Congress on its way to the President’s desk. Please correct me if I’m overlooking something, but I cannot think of any other federal pro-LGBT legislative accomplishment that has been achieved through a straight up-or-down vote as a stand-along bill. Repealing DADT itself is historic itself, but doing it this way changes everything!

Comments

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Ryan
December 18th, 2010 | LINK

What an amazing day to be an American. I’m especially proud and humbled by the Republican senators who bravely went against their party and risked Tea Party primary backlash by voting yes to equality.

tristram
December 18th, 2010 | LINK

65-31 !!!

Ryan
December 18th, 2010 | LINK

I know. That means eight Republicans! Eight! My mind is officially blown.

Kate
December 18th, 2010 | LINK

I’m so grateful and happy and thankful for all the people who worked to make this happen…it’s one of the most clear statements of civil rights that the US has made in ages. I still don’t quite believe it. But the champagne is coming out of the basement (pantry shelf, not wine rack) and I shall be celebrating tonight!!!

Amicus
December 19th, 2010 | LINK

Ryan White CARE Act may have been done stand alone. Not the same, but in many ways “pro gay” or gay-friendly.

As memory serves, DADT itself was not a stand alone, either.

MJC
December 19th, 2010 | LINK

Apparently, some Republicans are going sane.

Beth in VA
December 20th, 2010 | LINK

Okay good for those eight Republicans? But what about all the Democrats–hey, we’ve been working long and hard for this. And the Republicans just about killed it again by only narrowly allowing cloture.

Meanwhile, the Republicans in my state keep voting to limit gay rights. Let’s give due to the Democratic Party for leading on this issue!

B-Rob
December 20th, 2010 | LINK

As I told a gay friend more than a year ago, “On DADT, y’all have won, Jason! You just haven’t processed the victory yet.”

As soon as the decision was made to poll the troops, DADT was going one way or the other. Why? Because an entire generation of age 40 and under soldiers and officers have grown up in a very different world than those over 40. Even if the Congress had refused to repeal the statute, the responses to the survey totally undercut any rationale for DADT, and courts would have acknowledged that.

And the military is ready, too. Anecdotal, yes, but Andrew Sullivan had a great story a few months ago. A Special Forces soldier received a telephone call while being interviewed by a reporter about another issue. During the call he berates and belittles the SF soldier who called him. Seems the caller was back in the US and rather than go out and get drunk with his SF bros, he was going to stay with his partner! He was getting sh*t NOT because he is gay, but because he is [the gay equivalent of "p*ssywhipped"]. He refused to hang out and act stupid and get drunk with his straight bros, and THAT was his sin! So much for gays destroying unit cohesion!

Gregory King
December 20th, 2010 | LINK

The Hate Crimes Statistics Act, enacted in 1990, was not attached to other legislation. It was the first federal legislation in history to include the term “sexual orientation.”

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