The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this weekend on repealing the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy. Reports show there are barely enough votes to pass the controversial measure that would let gays serve openly in the military. The next stop would most likely be President Barack Obama's desk.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, told CBN News the repeal of the policy will be a terrible mistake.
"Why would we want to take the risk of any kind of experiment like this?" he asked.
McKeon pointed to the Pentagon's own report on the effects of the repeal which showed that roughly 12 percent of spouses said they would encourage their spouse to get out of the military if this law was changed.
"That's a pretty big number," McKeon said. "I would wonder about the effect on readiness and morale and so forth."
Yet despite dogged opposition from conservatives and some top military personnel who said the policy could lead to chaos and put American troops in danger, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., still mustered enough votes in the House to pass a bill. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has shown that he has the votes to pass it in the Senate as well.
"For those who can vote to appease a small base of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and sacrifice the lives of young Marines who are putting their lives on the line for this nation, I don't know how they can live with that knowing that the blood of those young Marines will be on their hands," said Tony Perkins, president of the family Research Council.
To repeal "don't ask, don't tell," the Senate will need at least 60 votes. To get there, they'll need four Republicans to join in with Democrats.
Conservatives will be taking note of the GOP group of four who have announced support for the repeal -- Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Scott Brown, R-Mass., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
Democrats and gay rights groups have been able to gain additional support, because they've been successful at framing this as a civil rights issue. However, another factor has been the support of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That leaves Perkins, a former Marine, extremely disappointed.
"I think he's caved under the pressure of this administration," Perkins said. "I've spoken to a number of military leaders both active duty and retired who have had great respect for him, but have lost it in the wake of this debate."
Yet this debate may end with a gay rights victory and President Obama's signature.