Earlier today, the Senate passed a vote to repeal the 17-year-old policy, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
President Obama praised Congress and sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee and his supporters on his behalf. This is what he wrote:
Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.
Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.
The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.
This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.
Read more AFTER THE JUMP
Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.
This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.
Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.
Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to our letter?
I will make sure these messages are delivered — you can also add a comment about what the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" means to you.
As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.
But this victory is also personal.
I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.
But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.
I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.
But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another — the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.
Today, I'm proud that we took these fights on.
Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal possible:
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: bill, dadt, end, harry reid, letter, nancy pelosi, repeal, sign