WASHINGTON — In a landmark for gay rights, the Senate on Saturday voted to let gays serve openly in the military, giving President Barack Obama the chance to fulfill a campaign promise and repeal the 17-year policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Obama was expected to sign it next week, although the change wouldn’t take immediate effect. The legislation says the president and his top military advisers must certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ fighting ability. After that, there’s a 60-day waiting period for the military.
“It is time to close this chapter in our history,” Obama said in a statement after a test vote cleared the way for final action. “It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”
A woman with a rare genetic disease that damaged the part of the brain which controls fear:
SM recalls being afraid as a child, like the time she was cornered by a snarling Doberman pinscher. But maybe that was before her disease wiped out the amygdala in both the left and right sides of her brain, the researchers say.
She apparently hasn’t felt fear as an adult, not even 15 years ago in an incident described by the researchers. A man jumped up from a park bench, pressed a knife to her throat and hissed, “I’m going to cut you.”
SM, who heard a church choir practicing in the distance, looked coolly at him and replied, “If you’re going to kill me, you’re going to have to go through my God’s angels first.”
The man suddenly let her go. She didn’t run home. She walked.
“Her lack of fear may have freaked the guy out,” Feinstein said.
But it also got her into that situation in the first place, he noted. SM had willingly approached the man when he asked her to, even though it was late at night and she was alone, and even though she thought he looked “drugged out.”
SM has also walked into other dangerous situations because of her lack of fear, and all in all, it’s remarkable she’s still alive, Feinstein said.