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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal passes key vote

Fri 28 May 2010 In: International News

The US Senate's Armed Services Committee has voted to let the Pentagon repeal the ban on gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the US military. It's a major step towards dismantling 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', as part of the annual defense authorization bill. While the bill will still face scrutiny by the full Senate, the 16-12 panel vote backs an end to the Clinton-era policy under which gays could serve in the military only if they don't disclose their sexual orientation. The New York Times reports Armed Services Committee chair, Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat of Michigan, believes the full Senate will support the repeal. The full House of Representatives plans to take an identical measure later Thursday or Friday. In a floor speech, gay Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat of Massachusetts, denounced the policy that requires gay men, lesbians and bisexuals to keep their sexual orientation secret if they want to serve in the armed forces. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are in favour of the policy being dumped, however military top brass have asked for Congress to delay voting on the issue until after December so a review of how to impose the new rules can be carried out. They are being supported by Senator John McCain, who says the policy change would be harmful to morale. When it was enacted in 1993, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was intended as a compromise by President Bill Clinton, who wanted to lift the military's gay ban entirely. Some 14,000 people have been forced out of the US military since then because of their sexual orientation.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 28th May 2010 - 11:51am

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