The Senate voted 65-31 in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which lifts the ban against gays serving openly in the U.S. military. The House approved the bill earlier last week by a vote of 250-174. It will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Following the Senate’s historic vote to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, a group of senators spoke with reporters. Among them were Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and its Ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who spoke about how the repealed law can be implemented.
The president released a statement praising the Senate's actions and expressed confidence that the military can responsibly transition to the new policy while ensuring its strength and readiness. "By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love," Mr. Obama said. "It is time to close this chapter in our history. 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."
Earlier this morning the Senate also took up the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, voting 55- 41, falling shy of the 60 votes required to limit debate and move forward, essentially killing the legislation for this congressional session. The measure would have offered young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they pursue a college degree or enlist in the armed forces. Several Democratic senators who support the legislation spoke after the bill was voted down.
The Senate also hopes to complete debate and vote on the START Treaty tomorrow.