Bil Browning

House passes DADT repeal standalone bill

Filed By Bil Browning | December 15, 2010 5:25 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, gays in the military, House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has passed a standalone bill to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. The House bill adds repeal language to a bill that already passed the House floor and the Senate Armed Services Committee - thus, helping chances that repeal passes as little time remains in the lame-duck session.

toy-soldiers-surge-forward.jpgA House amendment to a Senate-passed bill becomes an "amendment between the Houses" (otherwise known as a "message between the Houses") and holds privileged status - it can displace non-privileged business. This privileged status permits Majority Leader Reid to call up the measure at any time on the Senate floor. The motion to lay the measure before the Senate is not debatable. This helps advocates as we avoid the 30-hour window required when filing cloture. If Sen. John McCain continues to object, cloture will be required to terminate debate on that motion and/or the measure itself.

No amendments can be adopted that would change the House language. If an amendment were passed that changed the bill it would need to return to the House and delay it from moving to the President's desk. If the Senate were to concur in the House-passed measure without amendment, it then would advance to the President for signature/veto, as the identical measure would have passed the House and Senate.

We still need the 60 votes in the Senate to pass repeal legislation. After the jump is a list of Senators you need to call now - even if you've already called before - and urge them to support the standalone bill.

I'll also update this post with the various org reactions at the bottom as they come in.


  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Richard Lugar (R-IN)
  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Scott Brown (R-MA)
  • George Voinovich (R-OH)
  • Kit Bond (R-MO)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Mark Kirk (R-IL)

...And the sole unpersuaded Democrat: Joe Manchin (D-WV)


Statement from President Obama

I applaud the House for passing, with bipartisan support, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. Legislative repeal is supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The process contained in this legislation allows for a smooth and responsible repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in a way that maintains good order and discipline in our military ranks. Indeed, all of the Service Chiefs have said that when this law is changed , they will implement an orderly transition effectively and efficiently. As the comprehensive study by the Department of Defense clearly shows, we can move to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and our national security.

I particularly want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Congressman Patrick Murphy for their leadership on this issue. I have consistently called for the repeal of this law. Moving forward with the repeal is not only the right thing to do, it will also give our military the clarity and certainty it deserves. We must ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally by their country.

The Palm Center

House Vote Puts Fate of DADT Repeal with the Senate

Today, the Palm Center released this statement following the successful House vote to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." Palm Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff stated:

"The successful House vote to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' means that the moment of truth on openly gay service comes down to the Senate. The upcoming votes on stand-alone repeal legislation in the Senate are votes about whether to support prejudice or to oppose it. The evidence is conclusive, there is no military or legal rationale for 'don't ask, don't tell.'


"OutServe salutes the courage and leadership of Congressman Patrick Murphy, an Iraq veteran who has stood up for all troops every day since he joined the House. It is an honor to have a veteran in Congress so dedicated to working on behalf of those of us who currently serve under the burden of this policy.

We salute as well the invaluable and tenacious support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Steny Hoyer. Our ability to live and work with integrity and honesty is on the line. It now falls to the Senate to follow the House's example and the Pentagon report's recommendations, and right the wrong that is being done to thousands of us currently serving."

Rep Steve Rothman (D-NJ)

Rep. Rothman Lauds Passage of New Bill to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, released the following statement on the bill (H.R. 2965) to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell that passed the U.S. House of Representatives this evening:

In my opinion, our country's national security has been hurt by the U.S. armed forces having sent home more than 13,500 qualified, patriotic service members since 1994 who were willing and fit to serve our country. In each instance, there was no conduct unbecoming a member of the armed service.

Investing many millions of dollars to train these individuals, and then dismissing them in the absence of bad conduct, has wasted many millions of precious taxpayer dollars and unnecessarily added to the strain on our already overburdened armed forces.

As the U.S. continues to face dangerous enemies from all corners of the globe, it makes no sense to turn away qualified, able and willing volunteers from the U.S. military.

The Pentagon's November 30, 2010 comprehensive study of the policy concluded that the repeal would not have a major impact on morale or readiness. The results also showed that 70% of our service members believe that DADT's repeal would have either a positive effect or no effect on their ability to complete missions.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I also believe that the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, requires the government to apply our laws equally. That is why only negative conduct, not one's sexual orientation, should be grounds for dismissal from the armed services.

It is in our nation's national security interests to end the discriminatory policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" immediately. Equal justice and strengthening our national security cannot wait.

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force commends the U.S. House passage today of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal legislation. The House passed repeal language back in May as part of the defense spending bill, which has been blocked in the Senate. A separate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal measure was introduced this week in the House, and last week in the Senate, following a filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act, which included the repeal provision.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director:

"We thank the House for once again stepping up and showing leadership on this critical issue of fairness. House members who supported 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal today understand that the lives and careers of qualified and patriotic service members hang in the balance. They know, as do three-quarters of Americans, that this discriminatory policy is unnecessary, costly and unfair. This vote moves us closer to ending a shameful chapter in our nation's history, and toward creating a path that could end in men and women being able to serve openly, honestly, and to great benefit of our country. We urge the Senate to do its part and pass repeal legislation. It's long past time to stop playing politics with the thousands of patriotic men and women willing to risk their lives by serving in the military."

Representative Jared Polis (D-CO)

Polis to Senate: No Excuse for Delay on "DADT" Repeal

WASHINGTON--In a final push to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) before the 111th Congress comes to a close, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) today urged his colleagues to support a House version of stand-alone legislation pending in the Senate that would immediately repeal DADT and empower the Defense Department to end this harmful and discriminatory policy. Although the House passed legislation repealing DADT earlier this year, the passage of identical House legislation today (by a vote of 250 to 175) leaves the Senate with virtually no excuse to delay or fail to take action on this issue.

Text of Congressman Polis' floor speech follows:

I rise today in support of the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This resolution would ensure that the military has the ability to implement the recommendation from its recently completed study. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the only law in the country that requires people to be dishonest or be fired if they choose to be honest. It's a law that not only is hurtful to the men and women who put themselves at risk serving in our armed forces, but it's a law that's hurtful to our national security.

A recent study found that 8 out of 10 Americans support repealing the law. Regardless of their political party, people recognize that on the battlefield it doesn't matter if a soldier is gay or straight. What matters is they get the job done to protect our country.

Now, it's important to remember we already debated and voted on this issue early this summer. We passed an amendment with the same repeal language in the defense authorization bill. At that time there were members on both sides of the aisle that weren't ready to support this repeal. They wanted to see an extensive report by the military that was scheduled to come out December 1st; it came out one day earlier.

I personally didn't feel we needed to see that report. I was already convinced this would not be a threat to military readiness and would in fact enhance military readiness--due in part to the fact we have discharged over 13,000 people from our military after taxpayer money went for their training for reasons totally unrelated to their performance. Not to mention countless others that didn't re-enlist or left the military because of this policy.

But I do understand many members of this body from both sides of the aisle, including the Chairman of the committee of jurisdiction, wanted to see that report in December. Well, the report has come out and it's very clear with regard to the fact that--of no surprise to me, but hopefully of consolation to those who were concerned--this change in policy does not represent a threat to the security of this country. And in fact there were several practical suggestions about how to implement this change.

In addition, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense have been very clear that they want to see this policy legislatively repealed. Why? Because repeal of this policy is inevitable. It's a question of when not if. There are already several court orders in various stages of appeal and the military feels that the plan for it, with us, in this legislative process, is better for military readiness than running the greater risk of having an instant court order, an on or off again court order, which is also a possibility, which would prevent the regular military planning process from going forward.

The sooner we act the better. Despite our differences, it's clear that leaving it up to the courts is the wrong way to go about it. In 1993 the passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a political process, not a military one. Today we can rectify that, remove the statutory requirement, and allow the military to do the right thing to improve military readiness and enhance the protection of our country.

Let us be on the right side of history and finally move forward with repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" today. Thank you.

Video of Congressman Polis' remarks is available at:

Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA)

"With today's vote, we are a step closer to dismantling a policy that is not only discriminatory but is harmful to our national security. We've lost thousands of patriotic, highly-trained troops - infantry officers, fighter pilots, and even Arabic translators - who were kicked out of the military just because they happened to be gay.

Enough is enough. We've studied the issue, we've heard from our troops, we've debated repeal. Now it's time to act. Democrats and Republicans came together in the House to pass repeal, and I urge Senators of both parties to follow suit and put an end to this policy once and for all."

Center for American Progress Action Fund

CAP Action Applauds Today's Vote in the House to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

"The Center for American Progress Action Fund applauds today's 250 to 175 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal DADT ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell"). Today's vote is a huge step forward in efforts to finally end this costly and discriminatory policy. In fact, compared with the House's vote earlier this year to repeal DADT, today's vote saw triple the number of Republicans supporting repeal and a doubled overall margin-of-victory. We are grateful to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy, who introduced today's repeal legislation, and to Speaker Pelosi for her continued work on repeal.

The Senate must now vote to repeal DADT, where there are more than 60 bipartisan votes for repeal. We are grateful to Sens. Joe Lieberman (CT-I) and Susan Collins (ME-R) for their leadership on DADT repeal in the Senate.

We urge leadership there to make this bill a priority in the remaining days of the current session. Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen have both urged Congress to repeal DADT before Congress adjourns so that the military rather than the courts can implement repeal."

National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Michael Mitchell

National Stonewall Democrats': This vote signals that when it comes to LGBT equality the GOP is the Party of No

"For the second time, House Democrats provided the leadership and the vast majority of votes in order pass Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal, this time as a standalone bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD-5) and the heroic Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-8), marshaled an army of votes and reaffirmed the House's commitment to repeal.

"A large majority of Americans wants repeal, as does an equally large number of the military. Once again, Democrats align themselves with 77 percent of Americans by voting for repeal and -- with a huge majority of the Republican caucus voting against it -- we see another clear sign that when it comes to LGBT equality, the Democrats are the Party of Yes, and the GOP is the Party of No and one that is increasingly out of touch with what a majority of Americans want.

"Today's vote also continued to show what a great hero and man of integrity Rep. Patrick Murphy is. His impassioned and principled leadership for repeal has never been based on what was initially popular or easy, but on what - in his own words - '... was the right thing to do.' We are going to miss him in the upcoming Congress.

"The Democratic-led House did their part again for DADT repeal. Now it's back to the Senate, where a recalcitrant band of GOP obstructionists threaten to strangle the will of the people and the military regarding repeal. We call on the Senate to show the same courage and conviction that the House just did - personified by Rep. Patrick Murphy - and finally discharge DADT to the trash heap of history before this Congress ends."

Log Cabin Republicans

The Debate Is Over - It's Time for Republicans in the Senate to Act to End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

(Washington, DC) - Log Cabin Republicans thank the bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, including 15 Republicans, for voting in favor of H.R. 6520 and call upon Republicans in the Senate to quickly act and pass H.R. 6520.

"Today the House of Representatives voted to enact the clear will of the American people, which demands that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' be stricken from the books," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. "The bipartisan majority acted in accordance with the advice of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both of whom believe not only that smooth implementation of open service is possible, but that it is the right thing to do at this time. Log Cabin Republicans call upon Republicans in the United States Senate to join Senator Susan Collins and pass repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as soon as possible. Self-identified conservatives and Republicans across the United States support allowing gays and lesbians to serve honestly.

"This policy has been studied, it was subject of multiple Congressional hearings, and tried in a federal court of law. The consistent analysis concludes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is not necessary to military readiness but is, in fact, corrosive to the core values of our armed forces. Senators have the chance now to stand on the right side of history by voting for the integrity of our men and women in uniform. Senators who choose to ignore the will of the American people and the recommendations of the Department of Defense limit the full potential of our armed services."

Log Cabin Republicans allies who voted for H.R. 6520 are:

  • Judy Biggert (R-IL)

  • Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)

  • John Campbell (R-CA)

  • Anh 'Joseph' Cao (R-LA)

  • Mike Castle (R-DE)

  • Charlie Dent (R-PA)

  • Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

  • Charles Djou (R-HI)

  • David Dreier (R-CA)

  • Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)

  • Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

  • Ron Paul (R-TX)

  • Todd Platts (R-PA)

  • Dave Reichart (R-FL)

  • Ilean Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Pentagon Spokesperson Geoff Morrell

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell made the following statement
after a House vote on Dec. 15.

"Secretary Gates is pleased that the House of Representatives has
voted to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. He encourages the Senate to
pass the legislation this session, enabling the Department of Defense to
carefully and responsibly manage a change in this policy instead of risking
an abrupt change resulting from a decision in the courts."


After a successful vote in favor of repealing the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the House, the eyes of the LGBT community turn towards the upcoming Senate vote. While there is information that some Senators indicated their support for repeal, the lobbying efforts continue.

"We were thrilled to watch the votes come in today, and even more thrilled to hear such impassioned speeches from pro-equality Representatives standing on the side of justice" said GetEQUAL director Robin McGehee. "We know that the battle ahead in the Senate is going to be a hard one, but we're buoyed by today's vote. We've laid everything on the line this year to get this law repealed -- we now look to Senator Reid and President Obama to do the same."

On Monday, GetEQUAL sent out a national email alert, asking activists to call their Senators in preparation for an upcoming Senate vote to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This tool connects the caller directly to their own Senator's office and provides them with a sample script. It also offers a way for the caller to record the results of their call, which GetEQUAL staff will be adding to a public whip count that tallies support for repeal.

(Photo via John Morgan's Flickr photoset)

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The polls drove home a lesson in how to be popular and how to get cannon fodder for Afghanistan.

Repeal DOMA, Pass ENDA.

Don't enlist. Don't fight. Don't murder civilians to make the BP and Haliburton richer. (And don't translate - that helps murder civilians.)

Because everyone knows a Senator decides how to vote based on the number of calls they receive. Just before they vote they check in with their office and get a vote tally. That's how it works.

Maybe everyone should just call McCain and demand that he stop his filibuster.

For some reason I couldn't sign in with my new user name but I could sign in with my old oh well. As usual I have to disagree with Bill perdue LOL.While I would have liked to see enda passed with T inclusion and doma repealed, ending DADT would be a huge step in the right direction.It would also be nice if the military would change how it classifys transsexuals and consider adopting a policy that would allow transsexuals to serve if they meet a reasonable set of conditions.

What repeal (if it happens next week) will do is end the legal requirement for military dismissals based on military bigotry. That's a step but not much of a step.

Repealing Clintons DADT will not end anti-GLBT actions by the bigoted christer officer corps. Nor will it end military discrimination - that would be incompatible with Bill Clinton's DOMA in terms of married GIs, their spouses and their benefits. It will not stop sexual harassment and violence directed agaimst lesbians and gays.

It's repeal is based on the need for cannon fodder in the illegal wars from Palestine to Pakistan and because Democrats want to tap into the 77% disapproval rate of DADT.

GLBT folks should be even more adamant about opposing enlistment and murder of civilians by the US military.

Defend PFC Bradley Manning, a LGBT-antiwar hero.

To clarify what amym was saying, I think she meant that DADT repeal would do nothing for trans servicemembers. As far as I know that's true - usually rules around mental health are used to drum trans folks out of the service.

I was talking about this with someone recently and I really don't buy the cannon fodder argument about why it's getting repealed. The US govt. didn't talk much about DADT repeal until early 2010, and in 2008 and 2009, from what I've read, the US military has been meeting recruitment expectations, mainly due to the rise in unemployment.

I think that's what John McCain was referring to when he said DADT is working - there are plenty of people still joining the military so there's no reason to get rid of it. If anything, though, those recruitment numbers just go to show another reason why the elite love the new economy.

Last, I don't quite think it's fair to refer to servicemembers as "cannon fodder." How many American military have died in Iraq or Afghanistan in 9 years? 4000 or 5000? That's really not much for two long wars. They're not going over there to die, they're going there to kill.

They're recruiting domestic criminals and foreign mercenaries. If they stay they'll need more troops, maybe a draft. I don't actually expect that large numbers from the GLBT communities will rush to fight Obama's wars to make Haliburton and BP richer.

Cannon fodder is a commonly accepted term referring to involuntary working class military victims of wars for imperial domination, like the ones Obama is prosecuting in Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. You don't need huge numbers of dead to use the term.

As of today fatalities in 4430 in Iraq and 1436 in Afghanistan. That totals 5866. It'll pass the 6,000 mark before spring. Add to that roughly 40,000 wounded of which about 20,000 were not returned to duty, indicating they had serious wounds. Suicides among active duty and veteran victims of Obama's wars are skyrocketing.

I disagree that the number of fatalities, those seriously wounded and the huge numbers of suicides are 'not much'. I can't believe you said that, Alex. Even one is way too much. The deaths of thousands in the Clinton-Bush-Obama wars for oil hegemony is thousands too many. The differences in military and civilians are explained by the lethal weapons the US empoloys.

Some join the military to kill but I can't imagine that they're a significant number. Most GI's are not at all like the Waffen SS. US mercenaries, of whom there are about 50,000 in Iraq, are a different matter. In Afghanistan even the quisling Karzai is demanding they be withdrawn.

In Iraq it's common for GI's to do all they can to avoid combat by making temporary 'field truces'. It seems unreasonable to describe most GIs as 'killers' unless you can provide some proof. They're thrown into combat and forced to kill. Many were 'drafted' when their reserve units were ordered into combat and kept on duty by stop loss orders. "Total National Guard Personnel Ever Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in Support of OIF and OEF, September 2001 - November 30, 2007 254,894 - Source: Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs, January 2008" The last I heard the percentage of reservists is down to about 10% in Afghanistan.

Repealing the Democrats DADT won't end the harassment and violence against GLBT GIs. We should oppose enlistment with all our might.

I personally have heard troops commenting on fragging if the distractions endanger them, and i am loathe to see the day when the military is beset with murders, deaths and the constant distraction of 'civil rights' prosecutions.