The United States Senate voted to repeal the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy today. The move came just hours after the Senate passed a crucial cloture vote which allowed debate to close.
The earlier cloture vote was 63 to 33. A “super majority” of 60 votes was needed to end debate to allow an up or down vote. The final repeal vote needed just a simple majority of senators to pass.
The final repeal total was 65 to 31.
The House of Representatives passed an identical measure earlier in the week 250-175. President Barack Obama has called for the policy to be repealed and is widely expected to sign the bill into law.
Once signed into law, the president, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen would need to certify that the military was able to remove the policy without adverse effect. It is not known how long it will take to certify the repeal.
Multiple media outlets reported that high-level Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, called for investigations and suspensions of gay and lesbian troops to immediately cease. That call was echoed by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network this afternoon.
“I respectfully ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to use his authority to suspend all “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” investigations during this interim period,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
“Until the President signs the bill, until there is certification, and until the 60-day Congressional period is over, no one should be investigated or discharged under this discriminatory law.”
During a hearing on repeal in early Dec., Gates suggested that the time allowed by the certification process would allow the military to prepare training materials.