WASHINGTON — Embattled and left for near dead last week, the effort to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military gained significant momentum on Thursday with three more Republican Senators agreeing to vote to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.Read the rest here.
On Thursday evening, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said that the Senate would begin voting on the repeal as early as Saturday.
The repeal measure, approved Wednesday by the House, was originally tucked into a broader military policy bill, which failed when Senate Democrats found themselves unable to break a Republican filibuster last week. Returning quickly with a stand-alone bill seeking repeal, its supporters framed the new measure as a narrow civil rights matter and essentially challenged opponents to impede a vote.
By Thursday, Senator Susan Collins, the bill’s one Republican sponsor, had been joined by three other Republican senators — Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine — in supporting the measure.
“Senator Brown accepts the Pentagon’s recommendation to repeal the policy after proper preparations have been completed,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brown. “If and when a clean repeal bill comes up for a vote, he will support it.”
Along with the backing of 54 Democrats and two independents, the Republican support is enough to push the measure to the necessary 60-vote threshold. Another Democrat who backs repeal, Ron Wyden of Oregon, announced Thursday that he would undergo surgery for prostate cancer on Monday and be absent for votes starting Friday. Only one Democrat, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, has declined to support the measure.