Senate passes historic legislation 65-31

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins today released this statement following a vote in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which was implemented under President Clinton in 1993.


            “This is an historic day.  It is important that the United States will now join at least 28 of our closest allies in welcoming the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country. 


            “Society has changed a great deal since President Clinton signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law in 1993.  I agree with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our nation’s highest ranking military official, that this law should be carefully repealed.  I also agree with Secretary Gates that it is appropriate that the issue be decided by Congress, not the courts.”


            “I am delighted to have joined my friend and colleague Joe Lieberman in leading the effort to begin repeal of this law.”


            In May, Senator Collins was the only Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee to vote to include repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Defense Authorization bill.  Last week, she was the only Republican in the Senate to vote to proceed to the Defense Authorization bill which included repeal language, however, that bill failed.  Senators Collins and Lieberman then introduced the standalone bill which passed the Senate today.  President Obama, who called Senator Collins to thank her for her leadership on this issue, is now expected to sign the bill into law.