US President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the House of Representatives pressed ahead on Tuesday with a stand-alone bill that would repeal the US military ban on gays serving openly.
The House earlier in 2010 easily passed an annual military spending bill with a provision ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but the measure stalled in the Senate, where supporters of the repeal have also introduced a separate measure.
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that he would bring the stand-lone to a vote "soon" and urged the Senate to "swiftly take action as well so that the bill can be signed into law as soon as possible."
Supporters of the repeal fear that the year-end "lame duck" session may be their best chance for a long time to overturn the 1993 ban, which requires gay soldiers to keep quiet about their sexual orientation of face dismissal.
Republicans, who are broadly opposed to the repeal, will retake the House of Representatives and see their numbers grow in the Senate when a new US Congress musters in early January.
Repeal enjoys broad support from the US public, as well as from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the top US uniformed officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen.
And the Pentagon issued a study on December that found a solid majority of troops were not bothered by the prospect of lifting the ban and that the military could implement the change without a major disruption or upheaval.