Obama relishes an end to military ban on gays

Associated Press
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., walks near the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010, during a rare Saturday session to finish the year's legislative business. Senators planned a procedural vote Saturday on a bill to end the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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President Barack Obama is praising senators as they near passage of legislation that would overturn the military ban on openly gay troops.

Obama says that policy undermines U.S. national security and violates "the very ideals" that members of the armed services risk their lives to defend.

A final Senate vote is set for 3 p.m. Saturday after a test vote in the morning set the stage to send the measure to Obama to sign.

The president says ending the ban will mean that "thousands of patriotic Americans" won't be forced to leave the military "despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay."

He also says many thousands more won't be "asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love."

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