DADT: One Important Step Closer to History


"Ultimately, Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Mark Kirk of Illinois voted for repeal."

Victory! So happy Voinovich saw the light, at last.
@1, I was going to say that too! I sent him an email and called his office (never got an answer), but I'm glad there's something so good we can attribute to him so close his retirement.
Obama still needs to certify the repeal with Robert Gates and Admiral Mullins in order for gay and lesbian troops to start serving openly. We need to apply a little pressure so he doesn't drag his feet on it.
Who were the five Dems who voted against the DREAM Act? I want to thank the Republicans who voted to repeal DADT but I also want to bitch out the Democrats who went against the DREAM Act
The DREAM Act not getting passed is a real disappointment, but it is SO GREAT we finally got DADT repealed! Yay!

And the Republicans continue to shit on anyone that isn't straight, white, male, and monied.
I liked Obama's statement, and I'm going to assume it reflects his true feelings, and that the foot-dragging has been political rather than lack of personal conviction. What's the time frame for implementation? Other commenters were saying up to a year?
One thing that irked me about DREAM is that in California right now, illegal aliens get to pay in-state university rates of tuition.

That means that a citizen coming from Washington State would pay the very much higher out of state tuition.

So a US citizen from WA would pay more than an illegal for a state education!
It is cheering to my heart to see human injustice crumble. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to lend my voice these last few years. My heart does go out to those who lost their career under DADT, and for the failure of the DREAM Act and those beautiful young people that weren't given a voice when their families moved here as children and grew up believing they were US citizens that I've helped over the years.
dan you gonna give obama some credit for this after bashing him for not 'keeping his promise'?
@9 Maybe Dan will go with the "why didn't he do this a long time ago" crowd. I'm surprised no one has posted those kinds of comments yet. They seem to apear on every blog whether it's about DADT, unemplyment, tax cuts and whatever else has been debated in the post-election session.
The DREAM Act failure at the same time is an ominous sidenote, isn't it? Makes you wonder if some electeds aren't being careful to preserve whatever campaign scapegoats they can.

With the economy in the shitter still, officeseekers and incumbents will want to keep all the blamey hot buttons available they still can. "Illegals are draining our public services" remains a classic.

Illegal aliens may be a big boogyman to you, but they pay taxes just like any other resident. They pay sales tax on the clothes just like you do. They pay gas tax for their gas, just like you do. They pay income tax, just like you do.

I have no problem with them paying in-state tuition rates.
@4, No dems voted against it this time. Manchin (D-WV) has previously voted no, but didn't vote this time. You can see the official roll call here:…
@7 DREAM has nothing to do with setting tuition rates, dumbshit.

oops, I meant @7
So weird to have Joe[mentum] Lieberman to praise for getting this done.
The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban...

That is patently false - there is absolutely no need for any "new regulations"! All they have to do is stop enforcing the existing regulations. That's all! Nothing else needs to be done!
Sorry, how can the Senate GOP legally stop its implementation once the President signs the bill?
This is good news for American national security, as the Armed Forces will be both more efficient and more effective for this change.

It is also great news for LGBT rights. This is the most important important step forward since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. Employment discrimination? The military is the single largest employer in the country. Marriage? Watch the last few opponents of marriage equality try to deny benefits to the spouse of a uniformed hero or heroine.

Importantly, this was a legislative success, even though a judicial success was on the horizon. The tide has turned when an important measure like this garners supermajority support at the national level.

Congratulations to everyone who has fought so hard for this for so many years. This old soldier couldn’t have wished for a nicer Christmas present from Washington. For me, this is the culmination of a 10-year project. I need to find a new hobby!

Let the champagne flow!

Merry Christmas,
Former Sergeant, 1/75 Ranger Regiment
I think I'll give Mark Kirk's office a call and express my gratitude that he's a reasonable politician capable of supporting good ideas no matter which side of the aisle they come from, unlike most Republicans.
I'll add:

This would not and could not have happened this year without Barack Obama. All of us activists were looking to 2011 or 2013, but the White House put it on the agenda for this year. The President's strategy worked, and got us DADT repeal a year or two earlier than we thought possible.

Halting DADT by Executive Order was another potential strategy, but it was the wrong strategy - it would have taken the pressure off Congress. Obama deserves credit for another correct decision there.
Where can you find pleasure
Search the world for treasure
Learn science technology
Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true
On the land or on the sea
Where can you learn to fly
Play in sports and skin dive
Study oceanography
Sign up for the big band
Or sit in the grandstand
When your team and others meet

In the navy
Yes, you can sail the seven seas
In the navy
Yes, you can put your mind at ease
In the navy
Come on now, people, make a stand
In the navy, in the navy
Can't you see we need a hand
In the navy
Come on, protect the motherland
In the navy
Come on and join your fellow man
In the navy
Come on people, and make a stand
In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

They want you, they want you
They want you as a new recruit

If you like adventure
Don't you wait to enter
The recruiting office fast
Don't you hesitate
There is no need to wait
They're signing up new seamen fast
Maybe you are too young
To join up today
Bout don't you worry 'bout a thing
For I'm sure there will be
Always a good navy
Protecting the land and sea

In the navy
Yes, you can sail the seven seas
In the navy
Yes, you can put your mind at ease
In the navy
Come on now, people, make a stand
In the navy, in the navy
Can't you see we need a hand
In the navy
Come on, protect the motherland
In the navy
Come on and join your fellow man
In the navy
Come on people, and make a stand
In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

They want you, they want you
They want you as a new recruit

Who me?

They want you, they want you
They want you as a new recruit

But, but but I'm afraid of water.
Hey, hey look
Man, I get seasick even watchin' it on TV!

They want you, they want you in the navy

Oh my goodness.
What am I gonna do in a submarine?

They want you, they want you in the navy
@7, Illegal aliens have already ruined this country, coming in here refusing to learn the language and customs, importing their guns and violence and showing utter disdain and disregard for those who were born and raised here.

Of course I am talking about the illegal white settlers who stole this land away from the Native Americans, but hey, who wants to think about that?

Your use of the terms "illegal aliens" and "illegals" says much more about you than you might think.
Obama gets shit done. He does it the right way,
not the quick way. If he had done this any
other way, it may have been overturned. Obama
is smart about legislation. Can we stop freaking
out on him now?!?!
@23: Word.
As of a couple of minutes ago, the Senate took the final vote.

DADT is repealed with a vote of 65-31.

NYT only has it as a blub, it is too early for the story even to be written.
Well done, America. Well done.
@24 - Agreed. He did it the way he said he wanted to do it from the start. Not the quick fix, the way that will make it last.

John McCain - thank you for your service. Now PLEASE retire. Today.
We did it. We did. It's done, It's over, It's dead and we did it.
Eh, calm down about the repeal process. 5 of the last 5 countries to repeal anti-homosexuality laws recently were able to do so within a few weeks. You can triple that for the size of the US military and it's not exactly reconstruction here, especially since our laws allowed gays to serve (whereas other laws banned it outright) so integration is SOMEWHAT less intense.
BABH, I'll be toasting you, Dan Choi and giving thanks tonight! My 2nd toast will be that no person, gay or straight will have to die for this country.

What is DREAM?
@33, via Wikipedia
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act) is a piece of proposed federal legislation in the United States that was first introduced in the United States Senate on August 1, 2001 and most recently re-introduced there and the United States House of Representatives on March 26, 2009. This bill would provide certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously and illegally for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning. The students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have "acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States," or have "served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.". Military enlistment contracts require an eight year commitment, with active duty commitments typically between four and six years, but as low as two years. "Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated [according to the terms of the Act] shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act."
In the Navy
They will give you crummy jobs
In the Navy
You will find J.R. "Bob" Dobbs... the gravy
I'm an immigrant, sure 8 generations removed. Does the dream act apply to Sweden, or Saudi Arabia?
@24 for the win.
So happy to hear the good news - and one of the nicest things? The existence, very soon in the future, of a sexually-orientationally-integrated military that works just fine will strengthen every other argument for full civil equality. "They were so afraid of this, and look, it's working fine. So will marriage, so will adoption".
This may have been brought up already, as I've not read all the comments, but NPR's reporting the vote as 65-31 (as opposed to 63-33 from your headline there.) Great news, regardless!
What does Dan Choi have that we are wishing him a speedy recovery? Dear God, don't let it be serious. I don't care which team he plays for, I have got the biggest hetero crush on him.
@ 40, I believe he suffered some kind of nervous breakdown.
@39: 63-33 was the vote on whether or not to vote on the bill. 65-31 was the actual vote on the bill.
@40 & 41,

The irony is that I'll bet you that Joe Solmonese (from HRC) will probably be at Obama's signing ceremony, grandstanding and taking most of the credit. Lt Choi, who repeatedly chained himself to the White House fence and is actually, you know, a combat veteran, will probably not be invited. Who do you think did more to sway votes?

PS: Dan Choi has just been released from the hospital.
Lt. Dan Choi on CNN this afternoon:…
OMG and WOW, keeping everything double crossed helped I think. I've been out all day and didn't even hear any news. Hip hip hooray for DADT but sorrow about the DREAM act.

I'm with Dan Savage, all my best wishes to you and a heartfelt thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you've done, Dan Choi.

Let everybody claim some credit who plausibly can. There are a lot of them. Whether you believe him or not, Senator Mark Kirk says his decision was shaped by multiple factors,including somebody he knew having an out gay son.

Q. You met with numerous military officials, even as late as this Wednesday, to hear their thoughts on repealing the ban. Do you believe there was consensus among them?

A. You bet. I can't quantify (how many I spoke to), but I even had an emotional interaction with my first commanding officer, Captain Mike Halbig. He told me, “I had one son in the Navy and now I can have another.”

Pass pass passed! I'm honestly more than a little surprised that the Republicans voting yea weren't lying about supporting it on its own. Thank you, Republicans who still have a shred of integrity (also, fuck you for vowing to block all legislation until you secured an extension on tax cuts for the wealthy; this doesn't mitigate that, you're still awful people, just awful people with a little bit of integrity).

Now on to combating the "discussion of implementation." Seriously, what is there to discuss? You're talking about implementing a negative: "How, exactly, are we going to implement a policy whereby we no longer discharge gay service members? I mean, it's not like we can just stop doing it, we're all so used to filling out all of that paperwork and filing it in triplicate every time it comes out that someone's gay. It's not going to be easy to no longer just do it." What the fuck? There's nothing to be discussed; the military already has policies pertaining to harassment etc. in order to deal with any fallout. Just stop firing the gay guys/gals and follow the rules you already have.

@23: Awesome.

@24: There's nothing about suspending enforcement of a law that precludes it's repeal. In fact, the whole point of that power is to do something necessary quickly (say, when we're discharging troops for no reason in the middle of two wars) in the case that it's legislative action is inevitable but much slower. Ending racial segregation in the armed forces is a direct parallel: it was done your "quick way", but it didn't come back...

Had Obama issued an executive order, it could have been undone by the next president or even him. Sure. DADT can still be passed again in the future. So the fuck what? Doing something to stop the policy NOW is still better than not, even if it can be undone (with the added benefit of demonstrating that the doom and gloom predictions are bullshit). I'm getting sick of fighting with Obama apologists, so I'll just let it go at that.
@24 Yes, when he's pushed. The Democrats lost in the last election (in case you didn't notice) and it was not due to an outstanding field of candidates from the right. In fact, probably the lowest caliber of republican candidates in some time. Nevertheless, the post-mortem showed that the gay community gave at the lowest levels in 20-something years, I think declaring the gaytm closed. It was due in large part to the diligence of Dan Choi, Rachel Maddow and Victor Fehrenbach. And stunningly, Joe Lieberman.

The good news: this is the one Obama thought he could get done. The bad news: this is the one Obama thought he could get done.
@18 I don't see that there's anything to "stop". DADT is itself a stopping of a program within the Defense Department. Congress only gets to screw with programs by defunding them. There's no way to "defund" a program that's deceased in order to bring it back to life. By ending DADT, the Administration will essentially remove all resources from efforts to investigate and discharge personnel for simply being gay. The Republicans in Congress can't put them back.
@43 - really? you are bitching about who is going to be at the signing ceremony? maybe you've been paying too much attention to Mr. Savage.

what is worth doing is worth doing, not because of the attention it may get you but because it was the right thing to do. Lt. Choi deserves to be proud of what he did and helping this become a reality. I hope to god he doesn't care if he is at some signing ceremony.

we all know Mr. Savage would be there... with his best t-shirt on. i'm surprised D. Savage hasn't taken some credit for this in some way. i was not at all surprised he did not give any credit to Obama for ending DADT in the way Obama wanted, the right way, and within the timeline he himself set.

Hey, Mr. Savage - it just got better for anyone wanting to serve in the military. You know, concrete results - that's the difference between a fierce advocate in the Oval Office and a fierce advocate in front of his computer. Keep doin' what you're doing, Mr. Savage, but stay out of politics.
Dan, don't be so sure about Dems getting the Hispanic vote for the next 4 generations because the DREAM act didn't pass. I grew up in South Texas, and one thing I noticed was that Hispanics that are legally in the U.S. look down upon illegal Hispanic immigrants much more harshly than anyone else.
@ 12

How, exactly, do illegal aliens pay income tax?
Cmon Dan. It's been like 12 hours and this post is all you've got? After the years of struggle and complaining and bitching and so many accusations of gutlessness, and so many pissy comments, the bill passes with an incredible flourish of procedural savvy from Obama, and you've put up one half-assed update? I call bullshit. Stand up and give some fucking credit where it's due.
@52 Through withholding on their paychecks like everyone else.

Illegal aliens who cross as adults probably don't generally file income tax returns.. What they do pay is withholding from their paycheck like everyone else. They pay this tax by using false SS#, often real SS# that belong to other people. They then have the FICA and income tax withheld from their checks. Unlike everyone else, they get no benefit from this at all. They get no credit for having paid into Social Security, and because they are using false SS#, they are unable to file for refunds they may be due.

Why do they use false SS#s, just so they can pay tax? So they can hold jobs that are not paid in cash only. Most jobs are like this. Any job that has an HR department will require you to fill out tax forms on your first day, and you need a SS# to write down.

Illegal aliens pay a lot of tax, especially FICA taxes. There are people out there who are getting credit in their SS accounts for work illegals are doing because the illegal is using their SS#.

The situation is more complicated for the people who the DREAM act would apply to. I am not sure how they approach the tax issue as they are coming into the workforce often as people who never knew they were illegal. Some of them use the same tricks adult illegals use. Others flounder.
@ 52

In Texas, we have no income tax, and everyone pays a sales tax. Illegals, residents, and tourists contribute to Texas' tax base.
@23, just curious, but what moniker do you want to use for those who have illegally moved to the US from other countries if not "illegal alien"?
@56 -- Best discription is likely "undocumented resident". Entering and remaining in the US without the proper and required visa is a violation of the US civil code. Failure to report all income on your federal tax return is a violation the civil code. There are hundreds of items in the US civil code that people knowingly and/or unwittingly violate on a daily basis, yet we don't use loaded and hyperbolic terms like "illegal alien" to describe people who violate these codes. We do it when it comes to the undocumented because it enforces and fosters bigotry towards those who are different.
@12 - and when the immigrants who aren't yet legal (but are in the country already) are given a way to seek legal status, they will also start paying income taxes.
@57 My Canadian husband thought it was interesting that if he had managed to get a green card to work in the States (which he didn't) he would have been called a "resident alien," while in Canada, his US born wife (me) was a "landed immigrant," so much friendlier and more civilized!
Canada has developed an effective and rational system of immigration. So has Austrailia. The US system is a product based and codified on early twentieth century legislative initiative ad thinking. Interestingly, the foundation of the current laws is the product of a former US House of Representative member from Washington State during the 1920's.
Our immigration system worked pretty well before it had to deal with 12-15,000,000 illegal immigrants (depending on whose numbers you believe). I'll bet Canada's system would crumple under that load just as quickly as ours has.
Frankly, I think the problem is vastly overstated considering "12-15 million" undocumented residents represent around 4% of the current US population. Not really a lot, and I don't think that percentage would cause Canada to crumble. I suspect Canada will be far more pragmatic dealing with the issue, and they do have an issue. I do think current anti-immigrant noise has more to do with economic displacment and bigotry. Just from a security standpoint, it would be smarter, cheaper and easier to integrate the undocumented into the mainstream. Unfortunately, this won't happen for the next several elections cycles, however after that I suspect the issue will likely be addressed. I think Angle's loss in NV might have been a wake up call for a lot of folks. Bush and Rove are probably already telling their GOP firends, "I told you so!"
Every time there's a recession/depression, people start screaming about immigration. The same thing has happened for well over a hundred years now, with Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Jewish immigrants being targeted at various times (among others). If and when the economy improves, suddenly nobody will care all that much about immigration, and Dream will have a chance. But right now? Really unlikely.
@ 54

So they do not and cannot legally pay proper federal income taxes. Ok.

@ 57

"Undocumented resident?"

Oh, but they do have documents... from the actual countries they hold legal citizenship in. What they don't have are legal US citizenship documents because they are illegal aliens.

Illegal alien is, btw, a perfectly accurate term applicable regardless of culture or complexion. The darkest-skinned Africans or the lightest skinned Scandinavians are illegal aliens if they hold that status.

I don't care if people come from Mexico or Mars. Just obey the law. (The US Civil Code is a body of laws, btw. Not hints. Not suggestions. Laws.)

But if you insist on clinging to your "undocumented resident" NewSpeak, then fine...

I hereby declare myself an undocumented ambassador.

Should I ever get arrested, I will demand full diplomatic privileges and that the police release me into the custody of whatever government I should specify. (Don't worry, I'll make it a non-Western one so as to facilitate your Liberal Guilt hangups. No charge.)
#60, have we? (Australia)

'illegal queue jumpers' are one of our most important election deciding political footballs, so...
@64 No, they can't file returns. They can pay taxes as I explained in #54. Most people don't send a check with their return, they pay as they go along by payroll deductions, the same as the illegal aliens. While the aliens do pay the same as everyone else, they can't get refunds like everyone else because they can't file returns.

Aliens employed by cash only businesses don't pay income taxes, just like Candy down at the local strip joint doesn't pay taxes. However, as #55 points out, they do pay other taxes. I am also in Texas and we fund our state entirely through sales tax, property tax, and the lottery. Illegals pay on all three. Sales tax is obvious, they pay property tax as a pass through when they pay rent, and like all poor people, they play the lottery at pretty high rates.
@ 64..sorta like those international laws? I'm pretty sure "overthrowing democratically elected governments" is one of those international laws.

maybe if the US stopped messing with latin american countries self-governance, training guerillas who terrorize the countryside and overthrow elected governments, and turning them into nice little banana republics, they wouldn't be flocking to your country.

Oh, btw, how's puerto rico workin out for ya? Still a disenfrancised pseudo-colony?
Kinda sad that the response of the commenters on JoeMyGod was to call Tony Perkins a woman. Last I checked, demographically women are less likely to be homophobic than men, so it seems intended as an insult purely based on the idea that it's somehow worse to be a woman than a man. It's a pity that people calling out Perkins for one kind of bigotry have to engage in another.
#23: if you came here from another country without permission (a visa) or overstayed your visa, you are here illegally and you are an alien, not a citizen, thus you are an "illegal alien". That is the correct term, not the sanitized "undocumented".

The DREAM act would have rewarded the parents who broke the law by letting them stay and be sponsored by their newly naturalized citizen children.

How about this compromise, the children get citizenship on condition that their illegal alien parents return to their country of origin? If your concern is "for the children" than you shouldn't oppose this.