Senate overturns military's ban on openly gay troops - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senate overturns military's ban on openly gay troops

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) --  The Senate has voted to overturn the military's ban on openly gay troops and sent the bill to President Barack Obama.

He's expected to sign it into law next week, ending the 17-year policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."

The Senate vote was 65-31. The House had passed an identical version of the bill by a 250-175 vote earlier in the week.

Repeal would mean that, for the first time in American history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.

More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans have blocked an effort to repeal the law banning gays from serving openly in the military.

The partisan vote was a defeat for gay rights groups who saw the provision in a defense authorization bill as their last chance any time soon to overturn the law known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation, which authorized $726 billion in defense spending including a pay raise for troops.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins had been seen as the crucial 60th vote because she supports overturning the military ban. But Collins sided with her GOP colleagues in arguing that Republicans weren't given sufficient leeway to offer amendments to the wide-ranging policy bill.

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