The vote was 63-33, breaking Old Man McCain's filibluster with three votes to spare. But the Republicans—determined to hand the Hispanic vote to the Dems for the next four generations—managed to block the DREAM Act (with an assist from five Senate Dems).
The president's statement...
Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend. By ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.
As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known. And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness.
I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. 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. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.
Republicans voting for repeal: Murkowski, Brown, Kirk, Collins, Snowe, Voinovich.
John at Americablog reminds us that the fight isn't over—not after today's vote, not after the final vote, not even after the president signs the bill into law:
The Senate still has two more votes on DADT before this bill passes the Senate (but those are simple majority votes, so we expect no problem). Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. But even then it's not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We'll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way, and we will, but today we celebrate.
And right now it's impossible not to think of—and be grateful for—Dan Choi. Dan worked himself very nearly to death over the last two years, pushing for this day, passionately advocating for this repeal, and for justice. Our thoughts are with you, Dan, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.