Senate repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senate repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Senate has voted to repeal the U.S. Armed Forces' "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If signed by President Barack Obama, gays and lesbians can openly serve in the military. For years, the gay and lesbian populations in the United States military have been subjected to the policy, which had forced them to be silent about their sexual orientation.

But today, the Senate voted to repeal it by a 65-31 margin. The policy became law in 1993, which had stopped the practice of asking service members to state if they are gay or not, but still called for the dismissal of openly gay service members. With news that gays and lesbians may soon openly serve in the military, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization president Tim Dela Cruz says this is great news. He told KUAM News, "We are very pleased with the Senate's passage of this discriminatory policy; this is a step in our nation's continuing movement toward equality and fairness for all people. We applaud the Senate for doing what is right."

Local veteran Jim Clements Says it should be okay for gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as these individuals don't display inappropriate behavior. He says if women can fight alongside men during combat, he says individuals with a different sexual orientation should be allowed to, as well.

He said, "When you're in a foxhole or in a helicopter, there's no way that his orientation is going to matter. Fighting for his country and dying for his country. I don't see any difference between that and fighting for women. Women had to fight a long time to be equal in military. Now it's time that gays be equal in the military."

Clements added, "Do you remember when the first woman graduated from the Military Academy? That was a big deal. When the first woman ran for office? That was a big deal. The first black president? That's a big deal. At first it's going to be a big deal, and after a while, it's going to be an everyday occurrence."

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal was recently removed from the National Defense Authorization Act to allow the defense bill to gain movement in the Senate. While the senate has repealed this policy, it now heads to the President for his signature.

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