I made it a point to avoid looking at the news for the most part of the day today, because I knew this vote was scheduled for today in the Senate. It is indeed a great day today, now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," has been given it's death blow by the Senate (by a vote of 65-31). I must say that I am even more impressed that it passed as a stand alone bill in both houses of Congress and passed.
This issue has been the subject of intense debate in the comments section of this blog, when I've raised it. And the comments back and forth have been interesting, troubling, and sometimes downright strange. Yet, I am glad that my fellow gays, lesbians and bisexuals will be able to serve openly in the near future. Over the last week, I heard conservatives argue that in the military there is no individuality, that those who join are trained to simply meet the missions presented to them. Of course, they are right, to a degree. But what they exclude so conveniently is the fact that straight service members were never asked to lie about who they were; they retained that aspect of themselves. I cannot imagine my straight friend, who is currently serving, having to hide from his colleagues his wonderful wife (and fabulous cook), and his two beautiful children. I just cannot imagine what it would do to him, if he were not able to discuss openly what he did with them over the weekend, or where they spent the holidays.
His gay fellow soldier could lose his/her job simply by talking honestly about anything he/she did at home over the weekend or the holidays. The end of DADT stops that, and that is a good thing. I am most happy for the service members who are gay, lesbian or bisexual who are cautiously optimistic about what the future now holds. I know that there are partners rejoicing that their lives will be able to be lived without fear in the near future.
I've been asked what is in this for me. The answer is that though I have no personal stake in this issue directly (I am on the brink of being too old to serve), I believe it is the right thing to do. Apparently, my position is shared by Republican Senators Brown, Collins, Snowe, Murkowski, Kirk (who has served), Voinovich, Ensign and Burr. Did they have a personal stake in this issue? Are they trying to make gays feel better psychologically? Or, did they understand that anyone who is willing to serve our nation should be able to do just that, regardless of their sexual orientation?
You can guess my answer.