Press Releases

Feinstein Statement on the Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Today marks the ‘end of a bad law that has been with us for far too long’

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military policy prohibiting gay and lesbian service members from open service in the Armed Forces. The law is officially repealed today.

“Seventeen years ago, I was one of only a handful of senators to vote against this policy. All these years later, it is a relief to see the end of a bad law that has been with us for far too long.

“The criteria for serving in the United States Armed Forces should be courage, competence and a willingness to serve. No one should be turned away because of who they are—not because of their race, their sex or their sexuality. 

Gays and lesbians are not the first group of Americans to be denied their civil rights. And they are not the first group to fight in service for the cherished freedom and equality which they have been denied.

“There are millions of stories that demonstrate this, but I will share just a few that stand out. In 1975, I was there in San Francisco when a woman carrying a gun attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford. It was a gay man who grabbed her gun, deflecting the shot aimed at our president.

“In 1982, I remember when a plane crashed on the 14th Street Bridge in Washington and passengers were on the verge of drowning in the ice-covered Potomac River. It was a gay man who jumped into the freezing water to save them.

“It was a gay woman serving as an Army medic in Iraq who saved the lives of innocent civilians who were critically wounded after a car bomb exploded in their midst. I can go on and on.

“This is long overdue, but I am proud this day has arrived for so many who have served our country loyally, proudly, and who no longer have to hide in the shadows.”