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Repeal gay military ban: Senate chief

world Updated: Nov 18, 2010 11:37 IST

AFP
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday, that he intends to bring the ban on gays openly serving in the military to a vote during the current lame duck session of Congress.

"During the work period following the Thanksgiving holidays (November 25), I will bring the Defense Authorization bill to the floor, including a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" Reid said in a statement, referring to the colloquial name of the law.

The White House is pushing for repeal of the 1993 law this year because Democrats' power to pass legislation will be sharply reduced in the new Congress that is seated in January.

Democrats will still have a majority in the Senate, but it was pared by six seats in November 2 legislative elections that also gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives.

"Our Defense Department supports repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces," Reid said. "We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so," he added.

The US Supreme Court on Friday kept intact the ban as lower courts review the issue, rejecting a request from a gay rights group, the Log Cabin Republicans, to block its enforcement.

The Pentagon's internal review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is due on December 1. Several lawmakers, including Republican John McCain have asked that the ban not be tampered with until the results of the review are known.

On Monday, 13 gay rights activists were arrested after handcuffing themselves to the White House's north gate to urge Obama's repeal of the ban.