The Senate voted to repeal DADT this afternoon and the bill will now go to President Obama for signature:
The final vote was 65-31, with eight Republicans crossing the aisle to support the measure.
The policy does not change overnight: Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen must first certify that lifting the ban will not adversely affect the military. Then there is a 60-day period as the Pentagon writes new rules.
Gates issued a statement saying he is pleased with the vote and vowed that the Pentagon would "carry out the change carefully and methodically, but purposefully." The effort will be led by Clifford Stanley, under secretary for personnel and readiness and a retired Marine major general.