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Senate votes for cloture on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ repeal almost certain

The United States Senate debated a stand-alone repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy today. The debate came after several failed attempts by the Senate to pass repeal as an amendment to the 2011 Defense Authorization Act.

Senate Republicans previously blocked the measures by forcing continued debate. Today was the first time that the Senate was able to pass cloture, allowing a final vote on the bill. The cloture vote was 63 to 33. Some 60 votes were needed for it to pass.

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Reid announces ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ vote on Saturday

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced plans to scrap a 1,924-page spending bill from being debated and voted on during the final days of the current lame-duck congressional session in favor of votes on repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the DREAM Act.

According to Huffington Post, the Senate will vote on the measures Saturday starting with the DREAM Act and moving on to DADT repeal later in the day.

The House of Representatives passed a stand-alone repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members earlier this week by a wide margin. The Senate has been unable to move forward on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that included repeal language, so Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) introduced a stand-alone repeal.

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U.S. House votes to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stand-alone repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this afternoon. The House previously passed a measure to overturn the policy as part of a piece of defense legislation, but recent repeal stalls in the Senate prompted House leaders to revisit the issue.

The final vote total was 250 to 175.

Some 15 Republicans voted for repeal. Only five Republicans voted for repeal when the House took on the measure earlier in the year.

In the debate leading up to a final vote on the bill, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) made an impassioned plea on the House floor for passage.

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DADT debate moves forward despite uncertain future

Sen. John McCain, Adm. Mike Mullen and Def. Sec. Robert Gates at a recent Senate hearing on

The Pentagon released its highly anticipated report on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy Nov. 30 and just two days later, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a two-day hearing on the report’s findings.

The report found that as much as 70 percent of service members would consider allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to be “positive” or have “no impact” on morale and unit cohesion.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon’s Working Group on the report, testified on the first day of the hearing. All three said that Congress should act to repeal the policy during the current lame-duck session.

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DADT update: Sens. Lieberman and Collins announce stand-alone repeal

Late this afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) announced a plan to bring a repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to the Senate for a full vote apart from the 2011 Defense Authorization Act.

“We are working with our colleagues and are confident that there are at least 60 Senators who support repeal,” Lieberman Tweeted this afternoon.

According to Lieberman’s Twitter page, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will issue a “Rule 14” on the measure, which will allow the bill to bypass The Senate Armed Services Committee and come directly to the floor for a vote.

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U.S. Senate again fails to move Defense Authorization Act, vote stalls ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

The U.S. Senate today failed to move forward on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, which included repeal language for the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, after supporters of the bill were unable to get the necessary 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.

Republicans blocked the cloture vote over objections to the procedure of the debate.

The vote total was 57 to 40.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor moments before the vote to call for support. “In my effort to get this done, I don't know how I could have been more reasonable,” Reid said. “It's our troops that will pay the price.”

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After leading fight for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Sam Nunn now backs repeal

Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, who as a senator from Georgia helped lead the fight for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, now says he agrees the policy can be repealed.

"Society has changed, and the military has changed," Nunn told the Associated Press this week.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held hearings on repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last week, after the Pentagon released a report that found a large majority of military service members do not believe openly gay troops would have a negative impact.

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Advocates urge calls to senators on behalf of DADT vote

Local activists are urging supporters of a repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to call local senators to plea for a “yes” vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization bill cloture vote tentatively scheduled for tonight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring a vote to the full Senate tonight, if time allows.

Here is a script, provided by one of our readers:

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Service chiefs say DADT should be repealed but question timing

The Senate Armed Services Committee

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a second day of testimony on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in light of a recent Pentagon report that suggests servicemembers were mostly positive or neutral to a repeal of the policy.

The leaders of each branch of the military stated that the policy could be repealed with limited disruption to military readiness and unit cohesion.

Each of the service chiefs suggested that the military would be able to handle a repeal, though several disagreed on the timing. Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff for the Air Force, suggested deferring repeal in 2012, though he acknowledged the Air Force could handle a repeal with limited risk.

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Military leaders to Senate Armed Services Committee: Time to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen

Just two days after the Pentagon released its findings from a 10-month study on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Senate Armed Services Committee hosted a hearing on the report today in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, testified in addition to Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon's Working Group.

Gates and Mullen both testified that Congress should act to repeal the policy during the current lame-duck session.

Gates stressed the importance of having Congress act before the courts forced a policy shift without time for the military to prepare for the change. Gates made similar statements before reporters earlier in the week.