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US defence chiefs to discuss how to end gay ban

world Updated: Jan 29, 2010 11:53 IST
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Defence Secretary Robert Gates will present to lawmakers next week plans on how to repeal a ban on gays serving openly in the US military, his spokesman has said.

Gates and top military officer Admiral Mike Mullen "are and frankly have been working on an implementation plan" to carry out President Barack Obama's goal of scrapping the ban, press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters on Thursday.

"And they will have more to say about... their proposed way forward with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' early next week," said Morrell. He was referring to the ban introduced in 1993 which requires gays to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

Taking on a politically charged issue, Obama renewed his vow to end the ban in his State of the Union address on Thursday, saying he would work "this year" with Congress to change the law. As a candidate, Obama promised to end the policy but activists have criticised him for moving cautiously on the issue since taking office.

A defence official said Gates and Mullen would describe "a plan on how to proceed with the president's vision." The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said "the secretary has been intimately involved in conversations with the president leading up to the State of the Union on this issue and is still working on it."