After the Senate voted on Saturday to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a seventeen-year old Pentagon policy prohibiting gay service members from serving openly, an outpouring of reaction followed in response to the legislative milestone.
Six Republicans initially crossed the aisle to vote against the policy: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).
In the first procedural vote on Saturday morning, 63 senators voted in favor of the bill and 33 against. In the final passage, Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) switched their vote to "aye," despite initially voting against moving forward with the bill.
(Click here to read more on all of the action that unfolded in the Senate.)
The AP reports:
Obama was expected to sign the bill into law next week, although changes to military policy probably wouldn't take effect for at least several months. Under the bill, the president and his top military advisers must first certify that lifting the ban won't hurt troops' ability to fight. After that, the military would undergo a 60-day wait period.
Repeal would mean that, for the first time in American history, gays would be openly accepted by the armed forces and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.
Below, a slideshow highlighting key reactions to the latest developments in the larger fight for repeal: