Saturday, December 18, 2010

Things have changed!

A year ago to get a hate crimes bill that protected gays through Congress it had to be attached to a must-pass military spending bill. The GOP squawked, but enough voted for it to get it passed.

One year later. The Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal was included in a must-pass military spending bill. Amazingly, that important bill did not pass. Some say it was because of DADT, some said because of other provisions in the spending bill. Gay activists thought the effort was dead when Harry Reid asked for a cloture vote when he knew some key backers weren't able to vote.

So DADT was pulled out of the spending bill, sponsored by an Independent and a Republican (!), and declared it didn't have to waste time in any committee. The House passed it a few days ago 250-175 -- and not strictly along party lines. The Senate held a cloture vote this morning and it passed. The GOP waived their right to debate, so the vote for the actual bill was this afternoon.

And it passed. 65-31.

Obama will sign it within the week.

This duck ain't so lame.

To top it off we have the opportunity of watching John McCain's head explode.

Yup, a year ago a gay friendly bill needed to be buried inside a must-pass bill. This time a gay friendly bill failed when it was buried and succeeded when it stood on its own. A first!

Definite progress!

However, the policy of discharging openly gay soldiers from the military is not gone. Obama has not, though urged by Reid, declared that dismissals will stop immediately. This bill only says the Dept. of Defense has the permission of Congress to end the policy, which is no longer required by law. It will still take six months to a year before gays can serve openly without fear of dismissal. The Sec. Def., Prez., and chairman of the Joint Chiefs need to certify they have a plan of implementation that won't impede military readiness.

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