President Barack Obama has called
repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” a “crucial step for civil
On Saturday, the
Senate approved repeal of the Clinton-era law that bans gay and
bisexual troops from serving openly. House
members overwhelmingly voted in favor of repeal on Wednesday.
“When that bill reaches my desk, I
will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed,” Obama
said in a statement released Saturday.
As candidate – and later as president
– Obama pledged to repeal the policy, but gay rights activists had
questioned his resolve due in large part to his decision to defend
the law in the courts.
Obama said he could relate to the gay
and lesbian service members who had been discriminated against by the policy.
“As Commander in Chief, I fought to
repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' because it weakens our national
security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental
American principles of equality and fairness.”
“But this victory is also personal.”
“I will never know what it feels like
to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation. But I
know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and
struggle of those who came before me – many I will never meet, and
can never thank.”
“I know this repeal is a crucial step
for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national
security. I know it is the right thing to do.”