Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military

Senate Cloture Vote Advances Repeal Of DADT

In a rare Saturday session, the Senate this morning paved the way for a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Today's vote of 63-33 was to invoke cloture and move forward on debate and final vote. The GOP has waived debate and the final Senate vote will happen today at 3pm EST. A simple majority vote is all that is needed to pass the legislation.

Republicans who broke off from their party by voting 'yea" were Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Olympia Snowe (ME), George Voinovich (OH).

Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) did not cast a vote.


Lambda Legal: "Today our country lived up to the values that lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemembers swore to defend. These members of America's armed forces have been a model of dignity and courage as they faced not only the dangers of military action, but also the unfair and discriminatory conduct of their own government. Today, the end of that era of discrimination is finally in sight."

Servicemembers United: "This vote represents an historic step forward for this country, and it will very likely be a life-changing moment for gay and lesbian troops."

Aubrey Sarvis of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: "We owe a great deal of thanks to many Congressional leaders who got us here today -- Patrick Murphy, Susan Davis, Speaker Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Hoyer.  In the Senate this would not have happened without Chairman Levin and Senators Lieberman, Mark Udall, Gillibrand, Collins and so many others.  But let me also personally thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  This is the defining civil right initiative of this decade and today’s bill passage would not have been possible without Harry Reid’s determined leadership.  And finally, without commitment and a clear plan from the White House for the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group, we would not stand here today."

Statement from President Obama: "Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend.  By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love. As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known.  And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness. I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done.  It is time to close this chapter in our history.  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.  It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly.  I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law."

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin: "When President Obama signs repeal legislation, he will pave the way for the U.S. to join its NATO allies in allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. It has long been clear that there is no evidence that lifting the ban will undermine the military, and no reason to fear the transition to inclusive policy. Research shows that moving quickly is one of the keys to a successful transition. If the President and military leadership quickly certify the end of 'don't ask, don't tell,' they will ensure an orderly transition with minimal disruption."

Dan Choi told the Miami-Herald: "It is a good time and I’m re-energized for this. I am sorry for anyone who might have been upset by my particular methods, but we all came to this together "This with the stroke of a pen doesn’t make the world more fully American. It makes the books more fully American...I look forward to thanking Sen. [Harry] Reid for finally getting this done. I am grateful for the leadership of the Senate. I’ve been withholding praise for most of the Senate. Today there is a renewed hope for the Senate for keep doing work."

Read more:

Head over to Americablog to thank those LGBT troops who helped make today's vote happen.

Meanwhile, the Senate also voted on the DREAM Act which failed with a 55-41 vote.

Complete list of Senators and their votes, AFTER THE JUMP.

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Not Voting
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Not Voting
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Not Voting
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
LeMieux (R-FL), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Not Voting
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (D-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

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  1. Hurrah!!!

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 18, 2010 11:53:08 AM

  2. Finally, the US joins the civilized world, sort of. Props to Sens. Lieberman and Collins. They got the job done.

    Posted by: JusticeontheRocks | Dec 18, 2010 11:53:08 AM

  3. this feels odd but we need to thank sen. lieberman for his effort in repealing DADT.

    Posted by: Tony | Dec 18, 2010 11:54:21 AM

  4. This isn't a vote to repeal or a final vote, this is a vote to end debate and invoke cloture. Essentially, the senate standing rules allow for infinite debate on a bill, but at any time a senator can file for cloture. 30 hours later, a vote is taken, and if the threshold is met (60 votes), then debate continues for another 30 hours, at which point the question can be moved and a final vote taken, which requires the usual simple majority.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 18, 2010 11:55:41 AM

  5. Wooo hooo!!! Finally some action. Guess I need to sack up and join now. Glad our government finally did the right thing. Thanks to all our active duty and retired service members who have endured until now.

    Posted by: Brad | Dec 18, 2010 11:56:13 AM

  6. There are a lot of thanks to go around. It will be fascinating to watch who claims and actually gets credit for this...

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 18, 2010 11:56:38 AM

  7. Final vote may come this afternoon.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Dec 18, 2010 11:57:32 AM

  8. @Chris:

    from Josh Marshall at

    Just so we're clear. This is not the passage of the actual DADT repeal bill. This is the vote that allows a straight majority vote, which will likely come tomorrow. And since there are many more than 51 votes for repeal, that means that the actual bill will pass tomorrow and likely be signed by the president early next week. This vote means that DADT is history.

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 18, 2010 11:59:49 AM

  9. cool

    Posted by: | Dec 18, 2010 12:01:34 PM

  10. who are the 4 who didn't even bother to vote?
    what a way to hide from history being a no show. these are the real cowards .

    Posted by: walter | Dec 18, 2010 12:02:38 PM

  11. Terrific news! Don't Ask Don't Tell slides into the dustbin of history. Our country moved forward slowly, but it does move forward. Good for Obama, the Democrats, and even Lieberman for pushing this through. The crabby old coot McCain will be groveling in his anger and that makes me smile big time.

    Posted by: Brian from Tucson | Dec 18, 2010 12:02:43 PM

  12. For rank and file soldiers this will be the biggest overblown "so what" moment since Y2K.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 18, 2010 12:05:08 PM

  13. 10 years I've been in uniform waiting for this. 10 years. Wow...

    Posted by: adam | Dec 18, 2010 12:06:13 PM

  14. Are Maggie and Brian handing out the cyanide-laced KoolAid at the NOM compound yet? Reality has come knocking on their door. And they can't handle the truth.

    Posted by: candide | Dec 18, 2010 12:07:36 PM

  15. Was that hard?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 18, 2010 12:08:36 PM

  16. They actually only need 50 votes tomorrow. Vice President Joe Biden could always break the tie.

    Although, with the 63 votes they got today, I am pretty sure it won't come to that. In fact, I think they will get a couple of the fence sitters who didn't vote today. Since the outcome is now clear, those senators won't want to be on the wrong side of history.

    John McCain, on the other hand, has already secured his place in history as a segregationist.

    Posted by: John | Dec 18, 2010 12:10:50 PM

  17. @Chris: This is on a special concurrence, so there is only a single cloture vote required and one 30-hour rule before a vote on passage.

    Also, PLEASE realize that even with passage, DADT REMAINS the law of the land unless and until our Fierce Advocate and the Sect. of Defense and Chairman of the Jt. Chiefs certify back to Congress that the ban can be lifted without a negative impact and then ANOTHER 60 days must pass before implementation actually occurs.

    So it will be at least March of 2011 before anything concrete really happens. Given BO's leadership, it will probably happen just before HRC's annual fundraising cocktail and dinner party next fall.

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Dec 18, 2010 12:13:37 PM

  18. @ Walter

    Manchin of WV, the only Dem to vote against the defense bill last week, was notably absent today.

    Posted by: Miffy | Dec 18, 2010 12:13:54 PM

  19. Good ole Traitor Joe (D-W. Va.) skipped the vote.

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Dec 18, 2010 12:16:32 PM

  20. I saw that the four who did not vote were: Manchin(WV), Bunning(KY), Gregg(NH), and Hatch(UT)

    Posted by: filgee2 | Dec 18, 2010 12:17:01 PM

  21. @Truthseeker There's a 30 hour rule after filing for cloture and after the cloture vote itself... which is why Reid filed for cloture on Thursday and the vote was today... the final vote could be held on Monday or whenever Reid schedules it.

    Crazy senate.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 18, 2010 12:18:19 PM

  22. Mark Kirk, rumored to be gay, reversed his stance, and just saved himself a blue dress moment. He is a navy veteran, but I'm not coming up with the right dress blues pun. Losing my edge- must be the champagne.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 18, 2010 12:27:01 PM

  23. Final vote today at 3pm.

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 18, 2010 12:27:33 PM

  24. I am still in shock at this victory. I never thought Lieberman would have the courage to speak so forthrightly about this issue: well done, Senator.

    It does sadden me that the DREAM act failed, though--the issues were so similar. Keep fighting for justice, immigrants.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Dec 18, 2010 12:27:34 PM

  25. To all the Obama hatred here. He was right and you were wrong on the strategy for this issue. Passing a law to repeal DADT was the best possible outcome for us. An Executive Order would not have been nearly as good and letting the courts decide this issue would have been to risky. It also would not have been popular with voters.

    Now we have a law that has the support of the military, the Congress and the public.

    Thank you for your leadership, President Obama. You really are a fierce advocate!

    Posted by: J.P. | Dec 18, 2010 12:27:47 PM

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