Udall Successfully Helps Lead U.S. Senate on Final Bipartisan Vote to Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Senate Passes Bill Allowing Department of Defense to Responsibly Implement New Policy
Today the U.S. Senate passed a landmark bill, cosponsored by Mark Udall, that will repeal the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and will task the U.S. Department of Defense with implementing the new policy in a way that protects our national security. Earlier in the day, the Senate had overcome a Republican-led filibuster and had advanced the repeal bill to the historic final passage vote. The next step is for the bill to be sent to the President for his signature.
Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been one of a core group of bipartisan U.S. senators leading the repeal effort. The repeal effort, supported by the clear majority of Americans, took on additional urgency within the past month, when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen urged the Senate to lift the ban on gay servicemembers.
“The U.S. Senate today took a giant step forward today toward enhancing our national security by allowing all Americans to fight for their nation regardless of whether they are gay or straight,” Udall said.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I took very seriously my duty to carefully examine whether Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. My first obligation was to ensure that any change in the law would be consistent with keeping our nation safe and honoring our men and women in uniform. The Pentagon’s recent study – and countless hours of testimony before the Committee – proved to me and my colleagues in both parties that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is in our national security interest.
“The next stage of the repeal timeline is critically important and must be done correctly. My oversight duties will include ensuring that the Department of the Defense lays all the necessary groundwork to accomplish repeal in a way that doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of our military, especially at a time of two wars. I have every confidence that the men and women of our Armed Services – who are the best trained fighting force in the world – will help accomplish this policy change in a way that underscores their unsurpassed professionalism.
“Once the Department of Defense certifies that it is ready to allow fully open service, it will be a proud day for our nation. Never again will a soldier, a translator, a jet mechanic, or others in our Armed Services lose their job merely because of who they love. Instead, their love of country – and a willingness to sacrifice their lives – will be the paramount factor in their service. It is no surprise to me that when discharged servicemembers have been asked what they will do if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed, these brave patriots have said they will reenlist, put on their uniforms once again, and march back into battle.”