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."
The Senate vote was 65-31. The House had passed an identical version of the bill, 250-175, on Wednesday.
Here's Politico on the six Republican senators who voted to end this misbegotten policy:
Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio, Mark Kirk of Illinois, plus Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe voted to end debate on the bill that would repeal the policy that bans openly gays service members.