SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)-The California Legislature passed a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to end its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

The state Assembly passed the resolution on a 51-17 vote after a lengthy debate on the virtues of equality and the nature of the military.

The state Senate already approved the resolution, which urges President Barack Obama and Congress to adopt the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009. It recommends the military adopt a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.

Current federal law prohibits service members from discussing their sexual orientation. Opponents of "don't ask, don't tell" say thousands of gays and lesbians who wanted to serve their country have been discharged from the military because of it.

"We set one standard above all others that makes us a unique place in this world, and that is equal treatment," said Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, who voted for the resolution.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, said that he served in the U.S. Marines for a decade, fought in the Iraq war, and saw the negative effects of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy directly.

"There is nothing in sexual orientation that affects their love of country, affects their patriotism, affects their commitment to their fellow Marines and servicemen of our great nation; and there's certainly nothing that affects their ability to give their life,"

Fletcher said. "It's time to remove the barrier that stops some of our amazing individuals from serving openly."

Opponents said the Legislature should focus on solving the budget crisis, not telling the federal government what to do.

Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, a U.S. Marine colonel, said that sexual tension and raging hormones are a big problem among young people in the military.

"Your job is to ... destroy the enemy," said Cook, who voted against the resolution. "And in an infantry organization, you have a very tight-knit group, and you want to hold that together."

Equality California, a nonprofit group that sponsored the resolution, said in a statement that more than 24 other nations allow gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve openly in their militaries, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

The resolution now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.