http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/7026085.htmlHouse approves repeal of gay ban in military
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don't disclose their sexual orientation.
The 234-194 vote to overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.
"I know that our military draws its strength on the integrity of our unified force, and current law challenges this integrity by creating two realities within the ranks," Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., said.
Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against it, cited statements by some military leaders that they need more time to study how a change in the law could affect the lives and readiness of service members.
The House vote came just hours after the Senate Armed Services Committee took the same course and voted 16-12 in favor of repealing the 1993 law. In both cases the measure was offered as an amendment to a defense spending bill.
Obama and leading Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had actively supported the repeal so that gays could serve in the military without fear of being exposed and discharged.
In a statement after the House vote, Obama hailed the day's congressional action as "important bipartisan steps toward repeal."
"This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity," Obama said.
"This is the beginning of the end of a shameful ban on open service by lesbian and gay troops that has weakened our national security," Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights organization, said after the Senate panel's vote.
There you go - quit bitching.