I can't help but mention the historic vote today, a vote which means so much more than what was just passed. By an incredible vote of 65-31, the US Senate joined the Congress, which had voted earlier in the month to pass the bill by a vote of 250-175. Once this bill is signed by President Obama, who has been a staunch supporter of the repeal, Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual members of the armed forces will be able to serve their country with the peace to know that their love will not be the reason for their career to end. They no longer have to live with the government enforced bigotry and inequality of a bad policy. It means the US Government is acknowledging that being LGTBQ does not make you less of an American, less of a patriot. This is the start of a movement toward the government not only seeing my tax dollars, but also my life as something valuable, something worthy of respect. The policy, put in place in 1993, has taken a far greater toll than most would admit, with something like 14,000 members of the military being discharged since the policy was enacted. But it was the idea behind the policy, that LGBT people were not able to serve, not worth protecting, not worth respecting, that was bad. It said the government will take out tax dollars, but not look to see us as valued citizens.
On a slightly more personal note, I am proud to know that the Congressional Representatives and Senators from the state of Delaware, newly elected Senator Chris Coons (D), Senator Tom Carper (D), and outgoing Representative Michael Castle (R), all voted in their respective houses in favor of repeal. The First State once again proved to be out in front for equality.
I am also very proud to have run videos by artists on this blog that have pointed to the problem with the policy. Two involved Tom Goss, a personal favorite of mine. The first was the song he co-wrote and performed with out singer/songwriter Matt Alber. The song, This Is Who We Are, speaks to the fear, shame and penalties brought on by the policy.
Only recently, Goss shot a video from his latest album, Back To Love. Lover is a beautiful song, made only more beautiful and aching with the video showing the effects of lovers separated by a war, and by the walls the military and the government set up to keep the lovers apart.
While this vote is a start, the policy remains in place. One would hope that while the process to end the policy is in place, all prosecution of LGBTQ service members would cease. But we should not forget this is a step, a giant one perhaps, toward equality in this country. Oddly enough, our elected representatives decided LGBT Americans were able to defend the rights and freedoms of the country before they have been able to pass legislation to enable the LGBT community to make a legal commitment to the one they love. With the more than 1,000 rights that go with marriage denied to LGBT couples, it is time for the elected officials to keep in mind it it always better to legislate with love than it is to vote with hate.