The House voted on Thursday evening to allow the Defense Department to repeal the ban on gay and bisexual military personnel from serving openly in the armed forces. Commonly known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 1993 military policy took one step closer to being lifted. In a 234 to 194 vote, 5 Republicans voted in favor of the measure, while 26 Democrats voted against the amendment adopted to the annual Pentagon policy bill.
“The Democrat majority drove this legislative agenda. The Democratic administration drove this agenda. The vote tonight was made over and above our commitment to listen to what our soldiers had to say about this issue,” said Congressman Mike Pence, Indiana Republican. “It belongs to them [the Democrats]. They own this, and I expect the voters in the fall will hold them accountable.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a similar measure permitting the repeal. Similar to the House amendment, the Senate measure would permit Pentagon leaders to rescind the ban 60 days after the military study group finishes its report. Mr. Pence is determined to turn things around after the November elections should DADT be eventually lifted:
“There is no higher priority than providing for the common defense. It is my belief. It is the belief of the chairman of the armed services committee and the ranking chairman of the armed services committee many that to abandon the compromise of “don’t ask, don’t tell” would negatively impact our readiness our recruitment, and the unit cohesion and the ability of our war fighters to protect this country. When the American people change management this fall, you bet we’ll do everything in our power to reverse this policy and restore the historic parameters of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”