After the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and allow the openly gay and lesbian Americans serve in the military, it fell to Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank to bang the gavel that closed the vote.
Then Frank had a message for Senate Republicans: It is "delusional" to claim that there has not been enough debate about gays and lesbians serving in the military.
Responding to Republican demands that the Senate vote be delayed until further hearings, committee reviews and debates can be held, Frank noted that the repeal measure had already been approved by by the full House and the Senate Armed Services Committee and said the Congress has followed the proper order of business.
“We’ve gone through triple regular order,” said Frank, after the 250-175 vote.
Yet, Senate Republicans continue to block a vote in that chamber.
Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, the first open lesbian elected to Congress, echoed Frank's assessment—and his call for action in the Senate.
"Our vote today is indeed an historic occasion, but we’re holding the celebration until the Senate takes up this bill and we’ve sent it to President Obama’s desk for his signature," said Baldwin.
"Make no mistake: the House made a bold and very strong statement today that we’re ready to move forward and see this repeal through. The President is ready to move forward. The military is ready to move forward. The American people are ready to move forward. It now falls to the Senate to do the right thing!"
"The arguments have been made, the evidence has been proffered, and, now, the House of Representatives has voted twice!" declared Baldwin. "The time is right for Congress to end this discriminatory policy once and for all!”
Frank and Baldwin are Democrats.
But they have Republican allies.
Fifteen House Republicans backed the repeal legislation in that chamber. They came from every region and every ideological camp within the party. Here's the list:
* Judy Biggert (R-IL)
* Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)
* John Campbell (R-CA)
* Anh 'Joseph' Cao (R-LA)
* Mike Castle (R-DE)
* Charlie Dent (R-PA)
* Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
* Charles Djou (R-HI)
* David Dreier (R-CA)
* Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
* Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
* Ron Paul (R-TX)
* Todd Platts (R-PA)
* Dave Reichart (R-FL)
* Ilean Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
The Log Cabin Republicans—the Republican LGBT group that has taken a real lead on DADT issues—has joined the "It's Time!" appeal.
"Today the House of Representatives voted to enact the clear will of the American people, which demands that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' be stricken from the books," said R. Clarke Cooper, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans. "The bipartisan majority acted in accordance with the advice of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both of whom believe not only that smooth implementation of open service is possible, but that it is the right thing to do at this time. Log Cabin Republicans call upon Republicans in the United States Senate to join Senator Susan Collins and pass repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as soon as possible. Self-identified conservatives and Republicans across the United States support allowing gays and lesbians to serve honestly."
"This policy has been studied, it was subject of multiple Congressional hearings, and tried in a federal court of law," concluded Cooper. "The consistent analysis concludes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is not necessary to military readiness but is, in fact, corrosive to the core values of our armed forces. Senators have the chance now to stand on the right side of history by voting for the integrity of our men and women in uniform. Senators who choose to ignore the will of the American people and the recommendations of the Department of Defense limit the full potential of our armed services."