On Saturday, the Senate agreed to overturn the seventeen year "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban openly gay members of the military. The historic vote and milestone for gays and lesbian troops, passed with a vote of 65 to 31 with 55 Democrats, eight Republicans, and two independents favoring the repeal. Earlier this week, the House passed the identical version of the bill in a vote of 250-175.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law next week but changes to military policy may take months. The bill allows troops to acknowledge sexual orientation with no impact on their service. Since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was enacted in 1993, over 13,500 members of the military were dismissed for being gay.
Obama offered a statement which read: "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."