The Senate Democratic leadership is one vote closer to the fifteen votes they need to move a measure that would repeal 17-year-federal law banning openly gay Americans from serving in the military from the Senate Armed Services Committee to the Senate floor, NPR's Liz Halloran reports.
Earlier today, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced his support for the measure.
"I don't believe Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie," Nelson said in a prepared statement. "The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy does just that."
"It also encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way," he said. "In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit."
According to Halloran, proponents of the amendment think they have the votes to get it out of committee. They targeted five on-the-fence Democrats on the committee: Nelson, Robert Byrd, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb, and Bill Nelson. "Both Nelsons will vote in favor of the amendment, Webb will not, and the decisions of Byrd and Bayh have not yet been made public," she says.