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Clinton hails repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' as 'historic step forward'

Secretary Clinton hailed the Senate's repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military as a "historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values." She made the remarks in a statement issued today in which she also said, "we are committed to universal standards abroad and here at home. Our progress on equality here strengthens our advocacy for human dignity everywhere."

Today the Senate voted 65 to 31 to repeal the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that came about during the administration of Clinton's husband, Bill Clinton. The House passed a repeal bill 250 to 175 on Dec. 15. Now the bill goes to President Obama, who supports a repeal.

Secretary Clinton has long supported gay rights, remarking in June that she was the first First Lady to march in a pride parade. In October, in the wake of several suicides by American gay teens, she issued a heartfelt message to gay adolescents, reminding them that their lives are valuable and urging them to hang in there, seek help, and reject suicide.

The senators who voted against the repeal today are going to end up on the wrong side of history, as the tide worlwide is turning in favor of acceptance of gays and lesbians. Obviously, there are still many areas of the globe where people are strongly opposed to gay rights. For example, read about how Turkey's military deals with gays in the recent FP article, "Do Ask, Must Tell." Nevertheless, the march of history teaches us that the circle of human inclusiveness continues to grow wider, slowly but surely.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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