Some cautious about "Don't ask, don't tell" passage

December 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Washington could be just a vote and a presidential signing ceremony away from ending "don't ask, don't tell." The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would end the military's ban on openly gay service members.

Democrats are doing all they can to get this repealed before the end of the year. Starting Jan. 5, Republicans will have control of the House and the speaker in waiting - John Boehner- has said he will not bring up the repeal of the ban while the United States is at war.

The motion passed handily, 250 to 175 votes. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi celebrated after the vote.

"It's a very proud day for this Congress when we are fighting discrimination and have the power to do so," said Pelosi.

"We're all very excited, but we've been disappointed before," said Vietnam veteran Dick Manning.

Manning isn't going to pop the champagne yet. The Vietnam veteran was discharged from the Air Force after a fellow airman outed him.

"I'm an 11 year veteran, but I can't collect veteran's benefits, I can't go to the VA hospital. I'm disqualified," said Manning.

Manning would like nothing more than to see "don't ask, don't tell" repealed, but doesn't want to get too excited since it still has to get through the Senate and he realizes this will be the repeal's last chance for awhile.

"It's the best time because I think if we wait, it's all over. It's not going to happen unless it happens now," said Manning.

"What is not clear to me is what the impact of gays in the military will be on national readiness," said retired Army Brig. Gen. Ralph Marinaro.

Marinaro of Alameda says he understands hesitance on the part of legislators. He has changed his mind on the issue and says he has been confused by it, but trusts the military will handle whatever comes it way.

"The military, I believe, is big enough and the command authority of the country to make this work. If it doesn't and we're wrong, I'm wrong in my guess about it, then we'll have to go back to 'don't ask, don't tell,'" said Marinaro.

Democrats said late Wednesday, they have enough votes to get this through the Senate. The Senate has a full agenda to deal with before the session ends, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring this to a vote, threatening to even call Senators back after Christmas is he has to get it done.


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