A long-awaited Pentagon report on the impact of lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military will be sent to Congress and released publicly on November 30, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday.
The release would be a day earlier than previously expected as the Pentagon pushes to get the report to the Senate Armed Services Committee before hearings on the issue, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.
The report, in the works since February, could have a significant impact on the Obama administration's effort to push a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy through Congress before the end of the year.
The policy bars gays from serving openly in the military but allows them to serve in the armed forces as long as they keep their sexual orientation private.
Speaking to reporters in Santa Cruz, where he was attending a conference of Americas defense ministers, Gates indicated he preferred the issue be resolved by Congress rather than the courts. A judge in October ordered the Pentagon to stop enforcing the policy, but the order has been stayed pending appeal.
"All I know is if this law is going to change, it's better that it be changed by legislation ... rather than have it struck down by the courts, with the potential for us having to implement it immediately," he said. (Continues here)