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US paves way for gays to serve in military

The Daily Telegraph reports (28 May 2010) that the United States has taken an important step towards allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the US military by voting to repeal the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.

It is a significant victory for the President, Barack Obama, after the heads of all three uniformed services said that no decision should be taken until a review had been completed in December.

"This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity," Mr Obama said.

There were cheers erupted in the House chamber after the vote to repeal the law, established as a compromise in 1993 during President Bill Clinton's administration. The vote came hours after the Senate Armed Services Committee took similar action.

"It's time for this policy to go, it doesn't reflect America's best values of equal opportunity," said Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent, after the committee voted 16 to 12 for the repeal.

"With our military fighting two wars, why on Earth would we tell 13,500 able-bodied Americans that their service is not needed?" said Representative Patrick Murphy, a Democrat and the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress.

Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said: "Lawmakers today stood on the right side of history." The British ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces was lifted in 2000.

Full article by Toby Harnden at US paves way for gays to serve in militaryUS paves way for gays to serve in military

Tags: Fairness and diversity in the armed forces

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