AMANPOUR: Hello again. It was a historic day yesterday, as the Senate voted to repeal the ban on gay men and lesbian women serving openly in the military. This has been a very active lame-duck Congress, with major pieces of legislation on the table, and next up, an expected vote on the arms control treaty with Russia, one of the president's top foreign policy priorities.
The two senators responsible for getting the votes for that treaty are with me this morning, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, and the ranking Republican, Senator Richard Lugar.
Gentlemen, thank you very much, indeed.
LUGAR: Thank you.
KERRY: Glad to be here.
AMANPOUR: Before we get to the upcoming business of START, let's talk about the repeal of "don't ask/don't tell." Historic. What does this mean for the U.S. military and for the country?
KERRY: Well, for the country, it means that our citizens will no longer have to lie and live a lie on a daily basis or be denied the opportunity to serve their country. Gay people have served the United States with distinction. They've won awards. They've given their lives all through our history. We had a policy that asked them to lie about it. They no longer have to do that.
I believe it fulfills an enormous promise of equality in our country. It's an historic day.
AMANPOUR: Senator Lugar, you did not vote to repeal "don't ask/don't tell," and yet the majority -- the vast majority, 77 percent of the American people, say that it's time. Why did you not do that?
LUGAR: I was influenced by those who are in combat presently in Afghanistan and the testimony of the Marine commandant that the adjustment that would be required by this is one that really ought not be take place, and -- and given the -- the -- the problems of combat and -- and Afghanistan currently.
AMANPOUR: So do you think it's going to be implemented? I mean, Secretary Gates, Chairman Mullen have said it will take some time to implement, but they are sure, like many other militaries around the world, that it will be implemented without too much of an issue, if at all.
LUGAR: Well, that was sort of the enabling clause of what we voted on yesterday, that this is pushed back until somehow these adjustments can be made.
AMANPOUR: Let's get...
KERRY: Can -- can I just say, quickly? I understand completely what Dick Lugar and John McCain and others were expressed, which is a view that some folks in the military still have. And I think that's why many of us felt it was so important for the Congress to do it, because if the courts did it, then there wouldn't be this capacity that Dick just referred to that allows Secretary Gates and the military to decide how they're going to implement it.
AMANPOUR: Well, another big struggle is the START treaty, the New START treaty, nuclear treaty between the United States and Russia. And I know you've been furiously lobbying to get this done. Do you believe that there will be a vote, that it will pass?
KERRY: I believe it will pass, and I believe there will be a vote.
AMANPOUR: And you, Senator Lugar? Will your members, the Republicans in the Senate, have enough numbers to pass this? Two-thirds of the Senate has to vote on it.
LUGAR: Several Republicans will support it, and I join the chairman in believing that there are the votes there. The problem is really getting to that final vote.