Obama praises ‘historic’ end to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama praised the “historic” Senate vote Saturday that all but assured a repeal of the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military.

“The Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend,” Obama said.

“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed,” he added. “It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly.”

The Senate voted 63-33 to end debate on repealing the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell”, which allows gays to serve in the military, but only if they keep their sexual orientation secret.

Final passage of the repeal is scheduled for a vote at 2000 GMT. The repeal will then go to Obama’s desk for a signature. The House of Representatives green-lighted an end to the law earlier this week.

Repealing the law has long been a goal of gay rights groups.

“This vote marks a critical step toward creating a path that could end in lesbian, gay and bisexual people finally being able to serve openly, honestly, and to great benefit of our country,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement.

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