Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and President Barack Obama are urging the Senate to follow in the House's footsteps and repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

On Wednesday, lawmakers in the House approved a bill that would end the military's ban on gay and bisexual troops serving openly.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Republicans, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, have twice before united to block its passage.

Gates “encourages the Senate to pass the legislation this session, enabling the Department of Defense to carefully and responsibly manage a change in this policy instead of risking an abrupt change resulting from a decision in the courts,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.

In a statement released Wednesday, Obama praised the vote: “I applaud the House for passing, with bipartisan support, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.”

“Legislative repeal is supported by the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The process contained in this legislation allows for a smooth and responsible repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in a way that maintains good order and discipline in our military ranks.”

Obama added that ending the law is “not only the right thing to do, it will also give our military the clarity and certainty it deserves.”