Repeal of 'Don't Ask' Clears Huge Senate Hurdle
Ban on gays in the military is expected to fall today or tomorrow
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2010 10:59 AM CST
Protesters call for repeal in Washington in this file photo from earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – The military's 17-year-old ban on gays in the military is all but dead. Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell cleared its crucial 60-vote procedural hurdle in the Senate today and is expected to easily pass in the final vote later today, reports AP. The vote to kill a GOP filibuster passed by a relatively comfortable margin of 63-33, making it a near certainty that President Obama will be signing repeal into law by the end of the year.

Six GOP senators joined Democrats in voting for repeal: Susan Collins, Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski, Mark Kirk, and George Voinovich. (Democrat Joe Manchin, who opposed repeal, missed the vote because of a "holiday gathering," notes Politico.) Opponent John McCain pronounced it a "very sad day," reports the Washington Post. "They will do what is asked of them," he said of service members. "But don't think there won't be a great cost." More senators apparently agreed with Harry Reid: "As Barry Goldwater said, 'You don't have to be straight to shoot straight.'"