US Senate to vote again on gay military ban

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The US Senate is expected to vote again next month on the ban on out gay soldiers.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said the vote would be scheduled after Thanksgiving.

Mr Reid, a Democrat, said in a statement yesterday: “During the work period following the Thanksgiving holidays, I will bring the Defence Authorisation Bill to the floor, including a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“Our Defence Department supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces. We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so.”

A measure to repeal the policy is attached to the Defence Authorisation Bill. It passed the House in the summer but a vote in the Senate was blocked last month by Republicans.

It is unclear whether there is enough support to pass the repeal measure, although the vote will be held just after the release of a Pentagon study which will reportedly show that the majority of serving troops have no problem with out gay colleagues.

However, a minority were vociferously opposed and there are concerns that even a small number of troops hostile to the change could pose problems for cohesion.

Last week, the US Supreme Court declined a request to lift the ban. Gay rights groups now see repeal in the Senate as the most viable option.