What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Gay Rights : (H.R. 5136) On an amendment to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy towards gay servicemembers, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military while barring military officials from inquiring about soldiers’ sexuality.
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(H.R. 5136) On an amendment to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy towards gay servicemembers, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military while barring military officials from inquiring about soldiers’ sexuality.
house Roll Call 317     May 27, 2010
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy towards gay servicemembers, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military  while barring military officials from inquiring about soldiers’ sexuality. In a compromise intended to attract support from military leaders, the amendment allowed the Pentagon to postpone repeal of DADT until the department completes a review of the policy in December 2010. Following the review, DADT would be repealed only if military leaders certify that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would not harm military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, or recruiting and retention.

Murphy urged support for his amendment: “…When I served in Baghdad, my team did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay. We cared if they could fire their M-4 assault rifle or run a convoy down Ambush Alley; could they do their job so that everybody in our unit would come home safely. With our military fighting two wars, why on Earth would we tell over 13,500 able-bodied Americans that their services are not needed? This policy hurts our national security…Our troops deserve a Congress that puts their safety and our collective national security over rigid partisan interests and a close-minded ideology.”

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) said: “…Anyone who is willing to put on this country's uniform and put his or her life on the line to protect our freedoms deserves our respect and should not be subject to discrimination. Repealing this flawed policy is an important way for us to show that respect.”

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) argued consideration of the amendment was premature: “I rise in strong opposition to the amendment being offered by Representative Murphy that would have Congress act to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell even before the comprehensive review directed by the Secretary of Defense is completed and even before Congress has received the comprehensive views of those who will be most directly affected by any change in the law.” Rep. John Shimkus called the amendment “devastating to the warfighters and to the combat infantrymen.”

The House agreed to Murphy’s amendment by a vote of 234-194. 229 Democrats – including all of the most progressive members -- and 5 Republicans voted “yea.” 168 Republicans and 26 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment to a Defense bill that repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy towards gay servicemembers, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military while barring military officials from inquiring about soldiers’ sexuality – but allowed the Pentagon to postpone repeal of DADT until the department completes a review of the policy in December, 2010. Following the review, DADT would be repealed only if military leaders certify that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would not harm military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, or recruiting and retention.

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