The Senate is scheduled to vote on the standalone bill to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell” sometime after 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, or 9:30 a.m. Dallas time, on Saturday. With at least four Republicans on board, supporters say they have the 60 votes needed to advance the bill to a final vote, which could come as early as late afternoon. From the Associated Press:
The Senate was headed toward a landmark vote Saturday on legislation that would let gays serve openly in the military, testing waning opposition among Republicans and putting Democrats within striking distance of overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Passage would be a historic victory for President Barack Obama, who made repeal of the 17-year-old law a campaign promise in 2008. It also would be a political win for congressional Democrats who have struggled repeatedly in the final hours of the lame-duck session to overcome Republican objections. …
Repeal would mean that, for the first time in U.S. history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.
More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law.
Under the bill, the president and his top military advisers — the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — are required to certify to Congress that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ ability to fight. After that, 60 days must pass before any changes go into effect.
You can watch the historic proceedings live on the CSPAN website. Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.