After years of controversy, debate and frustration, the Senate voted 65 to 31 today to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which restricted openly gay, bisexual and lesbian citizens from serving in the military. With the bill already having passed the House 250 to 175, it will now go to President Obama, who advocated for a full repeal of DADT during his presidential campaign, and is expected to sign it into law. Obama said: "I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known...It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly."

According to CNN, the Senate session invoked cloture earlier today, meaning it cut off or limited debate on the socially historic and controversial legislation, by a vote of 63 to 33, paving the way for the final vote, and stopping the Republicans from trying to filibuster again. Interestingly, two of the people who voted against the cloture changed their minds later, and voted for the repeal. More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the law since it was passed in 1993.

"Today, America lived up to its highest ideals of freedom and equality. Congress recognized that all men and women have the right to openly serve their country. Plenty of people had already planned the funeral for this legislation. Today, we pulled out a victory from what was almost certain defeat just a few days ago. We are grateful to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid and Sens. Lieberman, Collins and countless others for their dogged determination to repeal DADT," said Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign--a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights group.

Alexander Nicholson, a former multi-lingual Army interrogator discharged under DADT, noted warily that there's still "a long road ahead, citing "a final passage vote, the certification process, and a yet-to-be-determined implementation period." Nevertheless, he said that "those who defend our freedom while living in fear for their careers will finally breathe a sigh of relief tonight, and those who have fallen victim to this policy in years past will finally begin to see true closure and redemption on the horizon."