Washington, D.C. 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,” said Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.
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.