[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/18/senate.dadt/c1main.senate2.senatetv.jpg caption="Eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting to repeal 'don't ask, don' tell.'" width=300 height=169]
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - The military's prohibition of openly gay people serving within its ranks is one step closer to ending, after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal the armed forces' "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Eight Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut joined the chamber's Democrats to back the legislation, which passed by a 65-31 margin. The bill needed a simple majority - meaning support from 51 of the Senate's 100 members - to pass.
"I want to thank all of the gay men and women who are fighting for us today," said Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, one of several Republicans who voted for the measure. "We honor your service, and now we can do so openly."
President Barack Obama will sign the bill into law next week, White House press secretary said in a Twitter post moments after the Senate vote.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, applauded Congress's action, which he said "preserves the military's prerogative to implement change in a responsible, deliberate manner."
"It is the right thing to do," he said in a statement. "No longer will able men and women who want to serve and sacrifice for their country have to sacrifice their integrity to do so. We will be a better military as a result."
Updated: 4:13 pm
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with