One Step Closer to Ending the Ban on Gays in the Military

The momentum continues:

Congress has taken two big steps toward ending the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation. ...

The drive to end the ban still has a long way to go. The 234-194 House vote was an amendment to a defense spending bill that comes up for a final vote Friday. While the spending bill, which approves more than $700 billion in funds for military operations, enjoys wide support, some lawmakers vowed to vote against it if the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal was included. ...

The full Senate is expected to take up the defense bill next month, and Republicans are threatening a filibuster if the change in policy toward gays remains in the legislation.

Of course they are. But given the overwhelming public support for ending the ban -- 78 percent in the most recent poll on the question, from CNN -- it's a fair bet that conservatives' attempt to, in the immortal words of William F. Buckley, "stand athwart history, yelling Stop," is almost sure to fail.

-- Paul Waldman

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