Snowe backs 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Centrist Sen. Olympia Snowe on Wednesday became the fourth Republican senator to back a repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service members.

“After careful analysis of the comprehensive report compiled by the Department of Defense and thorough consideration of the testimony provided by the secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the service chiefs, I support repeal of the 'Don’t ask, don’t tell' law," Snowe (Maine) said in a statement to the Portland Press Herald.

Snowe's stance gives supporters of repeal an additional boost, should the Senate take up a standalone repeal bill that passed the House on Wednesday.

The other three GOP senators who have said they support repeal are Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Scott Brown (Mass.). Only Collins voted for repeal when it came up as part of a broader defense spending bill last week. 

The previous effort to repeal the policy failed to advance, by a vote of 40-57. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted with Republicans against the measure.