Seventeen years after DADT passed into law, the vote all but ensures that its repeal will become a reality before the end of the year.
VoA: US Congress Repeals Ban on Gays in Military
TPMDC: Lieberman And Collins On DADT Repeal: This Is A Civil Rights Bill
Unfortunately for gay rights activists, this development is no equivalent of [Brown vs Board of Education]. Brown was a unanimous decision that overturned the infamous Plessy v Ferguson precedent which had found “separate but equal” facilities to be constitutionally permmissable. Thus, the Court imposed integration in the most sensitive sphere in the public realm — elementary schools — and offered no dissenting opinion to justify opposition. By contrast, this bill passed with significant opposition from Republicans. (Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia who had said he opposes letting gays serve openly skipped the vote, but all other Democrats voted for it). It does not establish a constitutional or legal principle that all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unacceptable which can be applied in court rulings to other venues. And it does not allow transgendered individuals to serve.
It’s still great news, but there’s still a long way to go for full acceptance of LGBTQ people just living their lives openly without fear of discrimination and its consequences.