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U.S. House votes to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stand-alone repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this afternoon. The House previously passed a measure to overturn the policy as part of a piece of defense legislation, but recent repeal stalls in the Senate prompted House leaders to revisit the issue.

The final vote total was 250 to 175.

Some 15 Republicans voted for repeal. Only five Republicans voted for repeal when the House took on the measure earlier in the year.

In the debate leading up to a final vote on the bill, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) made an impassioned plea on the House floor for passage.

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DADT debate moves forward despite uncertain future

Sen. John McCain, Adm. Mike Mullen and Def. Sec. Robert Gates at a recent Senate hearing on

The Pentagon released its highly anticipated report on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy Nov. 30 and just two days later, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a two-day hearing on the report’s findings.

The report found that as much as 70 percent of service members would consider allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to be “positive” or have “no impact” on morale and unit cohesion.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon’s Working Group on the report, testified on the first day of the hearing. All three said that Congress should act to repeal the policy during the current lame-duck session.

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DADT update: Sens. Lieberman and Collins announce stand-alone repeal

Late this afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) announced a plan to bring a repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to the Senate for a full vote apart from the 2011 Defense Authorization Act.

“We are working with our colleagues and are confident that there are at least 60 Senators who support repeal,” Lieberman Tweeted this afternoon.

According to Lieberman’s Twitter page, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will issue a “Rule 14” on the measure, which will allow the bill to bypass The Senate Armed Services Committee and come directly to the floor for a vote.

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Advocates urge calls to senators on behalf of DADT vote

Local activists are urging supporters of a repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to call local senators to plea for a “yes” vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization bill cloture vote tentatively scheduled for tonight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring a vote to the full Senate tonight, if time allows.

Here is a script, provided by one of our readers:

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Gay-friendly Ga. congressman to lead progressive charge in U.S. House

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Atlanta) has been elected the Progressive Caucus Whip for the 112th Congress, according to a press release issued by Johnson’s office.

Rep. Hank Johnson takes leadership role in Progressive Caucus
Rep. Hank Johnson (official photo)

“I’m ready for the battles ahead,” said Johnson. “We won’t shy away from a fight and I’m honored to help lead the progressive charge.”

Johnson won reelection against Republican Liz Carter in November.  Carter was endorsed by the gay Log Cabin Republicans.

Johnson received a 95 on the last Human Rights Campaign scorecard, which tracks politicians' votes on LGBT issues. He has been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues during his time in Congress.

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Military leaders to Senate Armed Services Committee: Time to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen

Just two days after the Pentagon released its findings from a 10-month study on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Senate Armed Services Committee hosted a hearing on the report today in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, testified in addition to Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon's Working Group.

Gates and Mullen both testified that Congress should act to repeal the policy during the current lame-duck session.

Gates stressed the importance of having Congress act before the courts forced a policy shift without time for the military to prepare for the change. Gates made similar statements before reporters earlier in the week.

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Obama renews call for DADT repeal after Pentagon report

President Barack Obama calls for DADT repeal

President Barack Obama responded to the Pentagon’s report on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” yesterday after Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Adm. Mullen presented the report’s findings to reporters.

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Advocates, veterans supporting repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ arrested at White House

Thirteen activists and LGBT veterans were arrested today after handcuffing themselves to the White House fence to call for the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The action, organized by GetEQUAL, was a call for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama to follow through with their promise of repealing the anti-gay policy. The vets and activists say the repeal can be done during the "lame duck" session that began today.

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Election: Ga. activists hope for ‘status quo’ after GOP sweep

Georgia Governor-elect Nathan Deal

The Republican tidal wave that swept the nation Nov. 2 and handed control of the U.S. House to the GOP also washed over Georgia, but local activists are cautiously hoping that the election results won’t mean major disasters for LGBT issues in the state — not because most Georgia Republicans aren’t bad on gay issues, but because they already controlled state politics.

Prior to last Tuesday’s vote, Republicans controlled the Georgia governor’s mansion, the state House and Senate, and all major statewide elected offices except Labor Commissioner and Attorney General.

But Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a Democrat who said he supports civil unions for gay couples, gave up a relatively safe re-election bid to run for U.S. Senate in a quixotic attempt to unseat GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson — taking only 39 percent of the vote to Isakson’s 58.3 percent. And Attorney General Thurbert Baker lost to former Gov. Roy Barnes in the July Democratic gubernatorial primary.

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By the numbers: Gays in 2010 elections

106

Openly LGBT candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund who won on Nov. 2, meaning more were elected in 2010 than any year in history.

4

Openly gay members of Congress, after Democrat David Cicilline was elected to the U.S. House from Rhode Island on Nov. 2.

535

Total voting members of Congress, including 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate. There are no openly LGBT U.S. senators.

2

States that elected their first openly gay state lawmakers last week: North Carolina and Ohio.

2

Openly gay state lawmakers in Georgia; State Reps. Karla Drenner and Simone Bell were reelected without opposition on Nov. 2.

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Frank pessimistic about pro-LGBT legislation

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told the Washington Blade today that he sees “zero chance” of any pro-LGBT legislation coming out of the House of Representatives in the next two years while under Republican control.

“It will be a status quo,” Frank told the paper. “They don’t have the votes to hurt us but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause.”

Frank won a tough reelection battle during the midterm elections against Tea Party-backed Sean Bielat. The win secures his 16th term in the House.