Shuler votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Back in May, Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler bucked his party and voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Yesterday evening, however, Shuler joined the majority of his party (and 15 Republicans) in voting to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. The measure passed 250-175.

Shuler, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, had initially voted against repealing the ban in May, asserting that the move was premature, pending a military review of the policy.

That review, completed last month, indicated that most military service members support ending the policy, and several high-ranking military commanders, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have called for its end. The latest vote on repeal, which took place last evening, saw Shuler join the vast majority of his party in voting to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In the final roll call, 235 Democrats and 15 Republicans voted to end the ban, while 160 Republicans and 15 Democrats voted to keep it.

Shuler saw something of a progressive backlash in the May primary, losing Buncombe County in a surprisingly weak showing against unknown challenger Aixa Wilson. However, in the general election there was a serious effort to boost support among more left-leaning Democrats — for whom repeal of the ban is a high priority — for the two-term congressman, with local progressive politicians endorsing Shuler and organizing a get-out-the-vote effort, helping him to a nine-point victory over Hendersonville businessman Jeff Miller.

Before becoming law, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must gain 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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30 thoughts on “Shuler votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

  1. LeadOn

    Only 5% of the military was sampled in DoD’s survey. Only 20% of that 5% of our Armed Forces indicated yes to favoring repeal.

    The report results are extremely misleading and skewed.

    In most categories of the questions, more were directly against repeal than were directly for it.

    Only 8.8% of those sampled were soldiers who were currently in combat or on ships.

    Only about 20% of respondents were in all-male units, so of the 5% of the military surveyed, very few of those who responded were even in Combat Arms units (Infantry, Artillery, Armor, Combat Engineers, and Special Forces).

    National leaders and the media who shout that 70% of our Armed Forces supports repeal, according to the government’s own survey, are pushing a blatant lie. Integrity is becoming a casualty of war.

  2. LeadOn

    Repealing DADT is far more about eliminating DOMA and strongly advancing GLBT indoctrination throughout every public school in the nation. The military is simply the vehicle they need to accomplish these through.

    The DADT survey recommendations cleverly and clearly cited DOMA as a hindrance to DoD Family Readiness Groups’ inability to fully assist homosexual partners left behind during deployments. The majority of gays and lesbians who had to move to states allowing same-sex marriage to tie their union would like to move back to their home states and families and friends. The U.S. Armed Forces is the easiest way to get federal law to trump all state laws for their cause.

    What do Gates, Mullen, Obama and the GLBT community have in store for all our children?

    DoD Panel Repeal Implementation Recommendations For Children (p127, Vol 2, Findings from the Qualitative Research Tasks)
    – Provide educational materials for school teachers and staff so that they can support children of gay parents, and answer questions other children may have;
    – Offer informational materials to parents so they can talk to their children about these issues when they—the parents—are ready;
    – Provide educational materials for the children themselves;
    – Modify the educational curriculum to be inclusive of gay and lesbian families.

    In 1993, DADT allowed gays and lesbians wide-berth to join and serve in the military–but recruiting plummeted. Why? It’s not about joining, it’s about using DoD as a tool for greater national gains in their agenda.

  3. Michael ivanov

    He makes me so mad. It’s nice to see him throw a bone to the liberals, Buncombe might not be even that nice next primary.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Glad to see Shuler do something right for a change. It’s almost as good to watch the reactionaries frothing at the mouth.

  5. thedj

    I hope it passes, especially with the new pending Congress. I agree KH, nice to see DADT supporters so worked up.

  6. BigBeavis

    As a former soldier and veteran of Iraq, this repeal is long overdue. I served with gay and lesbian troops, and nobody cares. The only ones with a problem are those too nervous about their own sexualities. They need to get over it or get out. Cowards.

  7. Johnny

    This is one of the reasons I voted for Shuler, knowing he had the best chance of coming around and being sensible on the DADT issue. Good deal.

    And “LeadOn”, you can skew your numbers however you want to skew them. The so-called agenda by progressives, Libertarians, people of both parties and all walks of life, actually, is to have things arranged so YOUR bigoted opinions (which you’re welcome to have) don’t make it into actual rules. It’s called freedom. Liberty. Etc.

    Members of the military, being under civilian command, can think what they want to think. Privately and to themselves.

  8. Austin

    Why would anyone ever care who anyone else slept with or loved intimately?

  9. LOKEL

    The military already has gays and lesbians serving along side non-homosexuals …. if an individual wants to “fight for our country” then why would anyone deny them that right?

    We already allow non-american citizens to enlist, and give them citizenship as a reward for fighting …. why is no alarm bell being sounded over this practice?

    Good for you Heath!

  10. dpewen

    I agree with Ken and I want to thank Heath .. not something I do often … oh and keep religion out of politics Heath.

  11. dpewen

    Good one Mat … I would downsize the military to a small militia after ending all the illegal wars we are fighting.

  12. Jessica B.

    Nice that he did the right thing here, but let’s not forget he voted against ENDA and the Mathew Shepherd/James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, not to mention his connections with the Washington-based Religious Right group (“The Family”) that supports David Bahati, prime mover behind the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill. Shuler is no friend of the LGBT community

  13. R.Bernier

    This is the wrong thing to do, a truly sad day.
    This is morally wrong.


  14. Ken Hanke

    This is morally wrong.

    Thankfully, not everbody agrees with your definition of “morally wrong.”

  15. JonathanBarnard

    Both Burr and Hagan voted to repeal “Don’t ask” in the Senate.

    I’m proud to be a North Carolinian today.

  16. Ken Hanke

    “Morally wrong is morally wrong”.

    “And east is east and west is west. And if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” — G. Marx

  17. dpewen

    Morally wrong … funny … Heath’s national day of prayer is morally wrong in my book!!

  18. R.Bernier

    “Morally wrong … funny … Heath’s national day of prayer is morally wrong in my book!!”

    Im sure that will fit in the movie expert sandbox lifestyle as well.

    They are some that could learn by somthing so simple as to watch amimals to understand that somethings dont mix well, far from the logic of applesauce & cranberries. (maybe in the movies)


  19. Margaret Williams

    Hmm, keep it nice, y’all. Some pending comments show signs of getting too personal. Respect others views; don’t attack them personally.

  20. My morality doesn’t include discriminating based on sexual orientation. DADT was morally wrong and repealing it was long overdue.

    I’m surprised and impressed with Senator Burr’s vote but don’t think he is an advocate for LGBT rights. He just knows the times he lives in and that history will not look kindly on the 31 NO votes to repeal DADT.

    Sen. Burr: “This is a policy that is generationally right,” he said. “A majority of Americans have grown up at a time [when] they don’t think exclusion is the right thing for the United States to do. It’s not the accepted practice anywhere else in our society, and it only makes sense.”

  21. Margaret Williams

    This is an emotional subject for many: Please avoid tit-for-tat remarks, attacking either the letter writer or the comment poster.

  22. Ken Hanke

    Im sure that will fit in the movie expert sandbox lifestyle as well.

    And just exactly what are you expert at, Mr. Bernier?

  23. Margaret Williams

    I repeat: This is an emotional subject for many: Please avoid tit-for-tat remarks, attacking either the letter writer or the comment poster.

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