The House of Representatives voted tonight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the 17-year-old policy that permits gays and lesbians to serve in the military only if their sexual orientation remains secret.
The 234-194 vote will attach Rep. Patrick Murphy's (D-PA) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act now moving through Congress. Earlier tonight, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to approve a similar measure.
Five Republicans supported the repeal: Judy Biggert (Illinois), Joseph Cao (Louisiana), Charles Djou (Hawaii) , Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) and Ron Paul (Texas). Twenty-six Democrats voted against the amendment.
The measure allows Congress to vote now to repeal the current law. Actual implementation begins after completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1 and upon certification. The "compromise" would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and return "open service" authority to the Pentagon. Non-discrimination language would not be included. As of yet, there is no deadline and the Associated Press speculates the process could take "several years" or more.
Watch the final vote and a short report AFTER THE JUMP ...