In a historic action, the U.S. Senate on Saturday passed legislation that would end the 17-year-old law prohibiting open gays from serving in the U.S. military.
Early in the day, the Senate voted 63-33 to invoke cloture on the legislation that would end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to move it to the floor. Later in the afternoon, the chamer approved the legislation by a vote of 65-31, effectively sending the measure to President Obama’s desk.
For the cloture vote, six Republicans voted in the affirmative. They include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), an original co-sponsor of the bill, as well as Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Scott Brown (R-Mass) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Each had indicated prior to the vote that they support the bill when it came to the floor.
Additional GOP support for the legislation came from Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Three Republicans didn’t vote: Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).