I'm so thrilled that the Senate has overcome a Republican filibuster of our standalone "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill. What a historic day! Soon, the Senate will officially pass the DADT repeal compromise and lift the immoral and corrosive ban on LGBT men and women serving openly and honestly in the military.
For me, this journey began a year and a half ago when I met with Lt. Dan Choi in my office. It was a short meeting but a lifechanging one. Dan told me his story -- how he was asked to lie every day about who he is and who he loves. And I knew I needed to fight to repeal this policy.
So, I started whipping votes and was told time and time again by my colleagues that they needed to see leadership from the military. So, I went to Chairman Levin and asked for hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee. I was thrilled when he agreed and so early this year, the SASC held the first ever hearings on Don't Ask Don't Tell. The hearings were extremely dramatic as both Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen -- the military's top leaders -- made compelling cases for repeal.
It was also crucial that President Obama called for repealing DADT in his State of the Union address. The President has been an ardent supporter of repeal and we would not be here without his leadership.
But the Senate isn't done yet. We still have 17 days left in this Congress and we have much to do before we have finished working for the American people.
I'm focused particularly on delivering a Christmas miracle for our 9/11 heroes and passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act. We have an undeniable moral obligation to provide our heroes with the health care they need and I believe we just might get that miracle. Momentum is building every day for passing this important piece of legislation and I'm hopeful we can overcome a Republican filibuster next week. ABC News covered this important legislation last night.
Thank you all so much for your continued advocacy. I know you've been with me every step of the way on this journey and I really couldn't do it without your support.
Update [2010-12-18 15:50:39 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand]: Hi, Todd with Senator Gillibrand's campaign here. Wanted to share video of the Senator's speech on the floor of the Senate this morning calling for passage of the DREAM Act and DADT repeal: