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US military gay ban must end: Pelosi

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed on Thursday to find a way to end the ban on gays serving openly in the US military, a move facing stiff opposition from at least one White House ally.



Washington: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed on Thursday to find a way to end the ban on gays serving openly in the US military, a move facing stiff opposition from at least one White House ally.
Asked about President Barack Obama`s call in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday to end the "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy, Pelosi told reporters: "Repealing it has been something that has been very important to many of us."

"Now, what would you replace it with?" said Pelosi.

"It`s not just about yes or no; it`s about `let`s have a very positive policy to go forward so that every patriotic American who wants to serve our country will be able to do so without being discriminated against.`" she said.

Obama`s push to end the ban, which was adopted in 1993, faces opposition from House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, a Democrat who "supports the current policy”, according to spokeswoman Lara Battles.

Obama has drawn fire from gay rights groups for not taking steps to freeze or repeal the rule that requires gays to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

About 13,000 US service members have been discharged under the policy since then, and estimated costs through 2003 run at USD 95.4 million in recruiting costs and USD 95.1 million in training replacements, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

PTI

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