Eight GOP senators on Saturday crossed
the aisle to vote with all but one Democrat to repeal “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops from
The final 65 to 31 tally included
surprise votes in favor of repealing the law from Republicans Mark
Kirk of Illinois and George Voinovich of Ohio.
Kirk, who is serving the remaining
weeks of President Barack Obama's unexpired term, voted against
repeal earlier this year as a member of the House. But in a
statement released earlier in the month, the freshman senator said he
was undecided and would study the Pentagon's report on repeal. That
report endorsed repeal of the policy that has ended the military
careers of over 13,000 service members.
Voinovich had voted against repeal
Also voting in favor of repeal were
Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Scott Brown of
Massachusetts, John Ensign of Nevada, Richard Burr of North Carolina
and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Burr
and Ensign did not vote in favor of breaking the GOP filibuster,
but signed on for the final vote.
Snowe's announcement that she supported
criticism from the socially conservative group Family Research
Council (FRC), which called her a “turncoat.”
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a
Democrat, decided to skip the vote for a family holiday gathering.
Manchin said in a statement that he does not support repeal of the
law at this time.
Manchin said that he'd “spoken with
many passionate West Virginians who hold different views on this
“As such, while I believe the DADT
policy will be repealed, and probably should be repealed in the near
future, I cannot support a repeal of the policy at this time.”
Previously, the 63-year-old
newly-minted senator had said he objected
to repeal because he worried about how it would affect military
President Obama is expected to sign the
bill into law next week. However, repeal will not happen until the
president and the Pentagon certify that the military is prepared to
lift the ban.