Melissa EtheridgeDespite the US Senate's Sept. 21 vote not to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the ban on gays serving openly in the military, Melissa Etheridge remains optimistic that the country is progressing toward equality.

"I know that we as a country and we as a world are moving forward into understanding that you can't legislate people's choices and what one person considers good and what one person considers bad," the musician and gay tells PopEater.

All decisions are governed by fear or love, Etheridge believes. "It's crazy and I know that those votes only come from fear," she says. "That they push those votes through in an election year, it just shows who's running the show up there."

The 'Fearless Love' singer foresees a day when civil rights are a foregone conclusion. "Fears of terrorism, of being attacked, these very seemingly real things that are there, they get all tangled up with love and gay rights," she says. "I know in the next 10, 20 years this will all be behind us and we will all sort of laugh at those crazy days when 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was a law."

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