NEW YORK (CBS 2) – More than 13,000 men and women were kicked out of the military since the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law was enacted in 1993, and now they have reason to celebrate.
The Senate voted on Saturday to repeal the law and President Obama is expected to sign the repeal this week, CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports.
New York City native Lt. Dan Choi is among the man celebrating the historic vote. Choi is one of the nation’s best-known gay ex-army soldiers.
“This is a jolt of American energy running through my mind. I have been really stressed this past year wondering what America would ever do about this discrimination,” said Choi, who is also an Iraq combat veteran.
A Pentagon study in which 2/3 of American troops said changing the law would have little impact.
That study helped strengthen the push to strike down Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but opponents of the bill said a change now in a time of war would be a distraction that could cost lives.
“I’ve heard from thousands on active duty and retired personnel and I’ve heard from them saying, ‘Sen. McCain, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” Sen. John McCain said.
President Obama is expected to sign the new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military into law next week. Then the military will implement the changes after a 60-day waiting period.
Democrats, meanwhile, said the vote was a great victory.
“We’ve heard from our generals. We’ve heard from our men and women who are serving,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “and the bottom line is that America wanted this very corrosive, discriminatory policy repealed. And that’s what we’ve done today.”