California’s two senators joined Democratic colleagues calling for a vote on repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.
The 111th Congress is winding down, but Democrats want a vote on “don’t ask, don’t tell” before senators leave town. A provision in the defense authorization bill would overturn the policy that prevents openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the military.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said linguists, medics and thousands of other soldiers have been kicked out of the armed forces because of the rule. "I’m not a lawyer," she said, "but I believe in my heart of hearts that 'don’t ask, don’t tell' is unconstitutional."
Fellow California Democrat Barbara Boxer said the U.S. shouldn’t stand with Pakistan, North Korea and Iran – three other countries that ban gays from military service. "As we look at our nation," she said, "what we realize is our nation always moves toward equality. That’s been our history. We’ve got to move toward equality or we lose the essence of our nation."
The House has already passed the defense authorization bill that includes a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. If the Senate does the same, the repeal goes to the president for his signature.