The U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon passed a standalone bill aimed at repealing the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly. The final vote was 250 to 175, an even wider margin than May's 234 to 194 vote on passage of the Defense Authorization measure that originally contained the repeal language. The bill now moves to the Senate, where a bipartisan companion bill already has the support of several Republicans - including Olympia Snowe who pledged her support for the measure just this afternoon.
But the clock keeps ticking - and until 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is gone for good, the media needs to continue to give voice to the men and women of our armed forces who suffer under this discriminatory law, to those who have been denied the chance to serve, and those who were given the chance to serve and were then discharged. As GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said last week:
"Today the media needs to amplify the voices of those patriotic and dedicated personnel being unfairly discharged simply because of who they are as well as the overwhelming support from the public and high-ranking military officials to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
Those words were true after the Senate was unable to pass the repeal language in its original form, and they will remain true until it is able to pass a repeal bill in this, or any form. Our advice to the media remains the same - keep asking, and keep telling. Keep asking the American people where they stand until lawmakers get the message - and keep telling the stories of the men and women affected by this hurful law.