Updated 3:30 p.m. ET:
Seventeen years after going into effect, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is about to be repealed. The United States Senate this morning overcame a major hurdle in repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Several Republican Senators crossed party lines, voting to end debate on the repeal measure, which passed 63 to 33. This afternoon the Senate voted 65 to 31 to repeal the discriminatory policy.
The DADT policy, in place since 1993, bans openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military, forcing gay and lesbian service members to lie to lie or risk discharge from the service should their sexual orientation become known. The policy was put in place during the presidency of Bill Clinton to forestall overturning a ban on gay and lesbian individuals to serve in the military.
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has been a major champion of the repeal measure in the Senate. Lieberman brought the cloture vote to the floor, stating that repeal is “neither a Conservative nor Liberal issue,” but an issue of ending discrimination and “righting a wrong.”
Republican Senators Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AL), and Olympia Snowe (ME) joined the Democrats in voting to end debate and push the measure to the Senate floor for passage. The House passed the repeal 250-175 earlier this week.
Earlier this morning, the Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), which would have given the children of illegal immigrants who either serve in the military or are attending university a pathway to citizenship. Although five Republicans, including Senators Richard Lugar (IN) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted in favor of ending debate and sending the measure to the Senate floor, enough Democrats voted “no,” to block the controversial legislation from passage. It failed, getting only 55 of the needed 60 votes to move the DREAM Act forward.