A stand-alone bill to repeal the ban on gays serving in the military just cleared the House by a 250 to 175 vote margin and outgoing Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart was one of just 15 GOP'ers voting to retire it. Debate now shifts to the Senate, where Dems hope to hold a vote before Congress convenes for the year.
"Now is the time for us to act,'' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and "close the door on a fundamental unfairness in our nation.''
Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also voted for repeal; Mario Diaz-Balart voted against repeal.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart had said last May during debate on the matter that a repeal process should be followed.
"In keeping with that statement, and while I am opposed to the lack of transparency and fairness in the procedures followed today by the Congressional Majority, I have voted for the recommendations in the Comprehensive Review issued by the Department of Defense on November 30, 2010."
And he reiterated that he believes "that sexual preference should not even be a point of reference when judging individuals."