The vote to repeal was 65-31, allowing openly gay servicemen and women to serve their country without the feat of being kicked out of the military.
What happens next: Obama has promised to sign the bill next week, making repeal a true legal reality. Then the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Obama must work out an implementation plan and officially certify that the military is ready to allow its gay and lesbian servicemembers to come out of the closet. Sixty days after that, DADT is “officially” repealed. Such is the language of the bill the Senate passed today and the House passed earlier in the week.
But repeal could effectively be in place far earlier than that. Following the cloture vote today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on the Pentagon to suspend all DADT discharges and investigations immediately, something gay rights advocates say Defense Secretary Robert Gates can order whenever he wants.
Huge victory for the President who promised repeal during his 2008 presidential campaign. It’s also a huge win for gay rights activists.