PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy will soon be history.
In an historic vote, the Senate overturned the measure that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.
“I’m not here for partisan reasons; I’m here because men and women wearing the uniform of the United States who are gay and lesbian have died for this country. Because gay and lesbian men and women, wearing the uniform for this country have their lives on the line right now in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places,” said Sen. Carl Levin, of Michigan.
The vote is a victory for President Obama who made the repeal a campaign promise.
Polls showed more than two-thirds of Americans favored repealing the measure.
At an annual fundraiser Saturday night, they were celebrating the holiday season, but it became just as much a celebration of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The Delta Foundation is Pittsburgh’s largest non-profit agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
Among those in attendance was Gilbert Jackson, a former Army sergeant who was honorably discharged after three years of service. He says that it’s hard to be all you can be if you have to live a double life.
“It’s a matter of being honest with yourself and I think it’s great,” said Jackson. “I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse affect, I really don’t.”
Polls show more than two-thirds of military personnel agree that knowing someone is gay will not have an adverse affect on them.
However, Sen. John McCain says that’s not what he hears from those with whom he speaks.
“They will do what is asked of them, but don’t think it won’t be at a great cost,” said Sen. McCain.
Those in attendance at the party said they think the greater cost would be to ask those in an organization that’s supposed to be known for its integrity to instead be deceptive their entire military career.
“To ask someone to lie about who they are in order to serve their country, number one,” said Peter Karlovich, of the Delta Foundation. “That doesn’t seem to do much for the organization if you have people who have to lie to protect themselves.”
Although the President is expected to sign the bill next week, it may take more than a year for the policy to take effect officially; but it seems unlikely that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be enforced in the interim.