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Last updated: 2 february, 2010 - 14:02 GMT

US defence secretary to review ban on gay soldiers

US Secretary Robert Gates

Defence secretary Robert Gates announced a year-long review of the policy when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee

The Defence Department in Washington has announced a review on how to lift a ban on openly homosexual people serving in the United States military.

President Clinton wanted to end the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the armed forces - but he met such resistance that he ended up going the with "don't ask; don't tell" compromise.

At the moment, a gay man can be in the military provided his sexuality is kept secret. President Obama has said this is discrimination and should be ended.

Lieutenant Dan Choi is a vocal advocate of change. He came out as gay, was discharged by a military court and is now waiting for his formal discharge notice.

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However Bill McMichael, the Pentagon correspondent for the US Army Times, says a majority of US servicemen and women would still prefer to retain a ban.

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First broadcast 2 February 2010

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