President Obama’s signature is expected on the bill the Senate just sent his way. Saturday saw the Senate vote to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) law. Now President Obama’s signature is the only thing standing in the way of gay soldiers being able to openly serve in the military. According to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama will sign the bill, making it a new law.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates pledges to hold discussions with chiefs of all the military branches before any changes are made. It is hoped the process will be completed in a couple of months, and until the entire changeover process is completed, DADT will remain in effect. However, it would be very surprising if anyone were discharged from the military for being gay during this time.
The speed in which the bill was passed was necessary amid several fears. First, there was a threat of a more conservative incoming Congress preventing the law from being repealed. Second, advocates for the repeal of DADT pledged to use the court system to wage their challenges to the rule. There was great apprehension that should that happen, the DADT law would me changed very abruptly as opposed to proceeding along a longer schedule of implementation.
The vote was largely Republican opposed, as was expected. Republicans believe the timing of the repeal is ill-fated and will negatively affect the military given the focus being put on deployed troops overseas. The bottom line, however, is that these men and women are risking their lives for this country, and should be treated accordingly.
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