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US Senate approves repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

Historic vote means ban on allowing openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the US military will be dropped.

People stop to watch news of the DADT repeal displayed outside ABC Television in Times Square, New York.
People stop to watch news of the DADT repeal displayed outside ABC Television in Times Square, New York.
Image: Tina Fineberg/AP/Press Association Images

THE US SENATE HAS passed a historic vote to drop the ban on allowing openly gay people serve in the military.

The Senate voted to cancel the ban known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” by a vote of 65: 31, with two Independents and eight Republicans joining Democrats to pass the vote, the NYT reports.

The vote to repeal the policy followed an intense debate in the Senate.

Opponents to the repeal claimed allowing homosexual servicemen and women to serve would provide a distraction which could endanger troops. Being gay was grounds for discharge for decades, the Washington Post reports. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was introduced in 1993 in an effort to compromise on the issue, but saw over 13,000 troops discharged.

The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal now passes to President Barack Obama for signing. Obama, who had promised to end the ban as one of his presidential campaign pledges, said it was “time to close this chapter in our history”.

The US president welcomed the Senate vote and tweeted: “By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will patriotic Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love”.

He said: “This victory belongs to all who fought to end #DADT”.

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