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Lawmakers, gay rights advocates say they have the votes to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Lawmakers, gay rights advocates say they have the votes to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Lawmakers and gay-rights activists predicted Wednesday that both the Senate and House will have enough votes to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay service members.

According to The Hill:

Legislation to scrap the ban on openly gay service members in the military is expected to clear a major hurdle Thursday in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The chief backers of repeal, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), another senior member of the panel, would need 15 votes, or a simple majority, to include the legislation in the 2011 defense authorization bill.

According to the latest count by gay-rights activists, who are pressuring panel members to vote for repeal, all Democrats on the committee — except Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) — are expected to support scrapping the ban.

The House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the Department of Defense Authorization bill last week without addressing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

But House Democratic leaders are expected to include an amendment calling for the policy’s repeal. A full House vote on the bill could happen as early as Thursday also.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that he wouldn’t oppose the Democrats’ approach, although he added he would prefer Congress to hold off until the Pentagon completes its study.

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