In a signal of sufficient support for final passage, the Senate voted 63-33 to cut off debate (shut down a filibuster) and head to a final vote on the military’s Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” anti-gay policy.
The bill now faces a second Senate vote for approval before it heads to President Obama for his signature. —JCL
The New York Times:
Capping a 17-year political struggle, the Senate on Saturday cleared the way for repealing the Pentagon’s ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
By a vote of 63 to 33, with six Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate acted to cut off debate on a measure that would let President Obama declare an end to the Clinton-era policy, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. The vote indicated that there was easily enough support to push the measure to final passage.
“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,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the cloture vote. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”
AP / Alex Brandon
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., center, with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., left, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., speaks at a news conference after the vote to end debate on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”