The Senate has voted down a defense bill that included a provision to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which bans openly gay members of the military from serving. The measure needed 60 votes to pass, but fell short by three. The final vote on Thursday was 57 in favor, and 40 against.
Last week, during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, administration officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, spoke in favor of a repeal. Gates also defended a recently-released Pentagon study on the policy, which found a repeal of the ban would not have lasting effects on the military.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is also facing a legal battle in the courts. Earlier this year, a federal judge issued a worldwide injunction against enforcement of the ban, which was appealed by the U.S. Justice Department.