The New York Times website reports that the U.S. Senate today (December 18, 2010) cleared the way for repealing the Pentagon's ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
By a vote of 63 to 33, the Senate acted to cut off debate on a measure that will let President Obama declare an end to the Clinton-era policy, known as "don't ask, don't tell," which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. The House of Representatives had already approved repealing the measure by a 250 to 175 vote.
Following the Senate vote today, President Obama said, "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."
At least two federal judges in separate cases last month ruled that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is unconstitutional, because it discriminates against gays.