The final 65-31 vote to end the 17-year-old policy that bars gays from serving openly included moderates as well as at least one conservative who had previously spoken out against changing the status quo.
The Republicans who voted for repeal:
- Scott Brown, Massachusetts
- Susan Collins, Maine
- Olympia Snowe, Maine
- Mark Kirk, Illinois
- Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
- John Ensign, Nevada
- Richard Burr, North Carolina
- George Voinovich, Ohio
Collins had joined with independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to lead the repeal effort.
But Burr was a surprise. He had previously said he was opposed to repeal and voted no in a procedural vote hours earlier. Collins said she was "surprised but delighted by the vote of Sen. Burr."
On the Democratic side, two senators were noticeable for their whereabouts during the vote.
West Virginia freshman Joe Manchin, who faces voters in his socially conservative state in 2012 and had said he opposed repeal, skipped the vote to begin his Christmas holiday early. An aide said he had a "family obligation."
It was touch-and-go whether Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who is to undergo surgery Monday for early stage prostate cancer, would make the vote. When the roll call was taken, Wyden was on the floor and voted "aye."