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Senate Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell


What happens next: Obama has promised to sign the bill next week, making repeal a true legal reality. Then the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Obama must work out an implementation plan and officially certify that the military is ready to allow its gay and lesbian servicemembers to come out of the closet. Sixty days after that, DADT is "officially" repealed. Such is the language of the bill the Senate passed today and the House passed earlier in the week.

But repeal could effectively be in place far earlier than that. Following the cloture vote today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on the Pentagon to suspend all DADT discharges and investigations immediately, something gay rights advocates say Defense Secretary Robert Gates can order whenever he wants.

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Whatever happens, the final vote in the Senate brings to an end a long fight for repeal led by gay rights advocates, progressives and, lately, President Obama. It reflects a shift in public opinion in favor the LGBT community serving in the armed forces that, advocates say, indicates a broader shift toward gay rights in America.

Check out this video of Democrats and gay rights activists speaking after breaking the Republican filibuster earlier today: