Senate committee postpones hearings on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

US soldierA planned November hearing by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee to consider ending a ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military will be postponed, a spokeswoman indicated Friday.

“We do not have a date” for the hearing, said the aide, Tara Andringa.

Committee staff have been working on Afghanistan issues ahead of President Barack Obama‘s decision on whether to send more troops, and more recently on the aftermath of the shock rampage at the sprawling Fort Hood military base.

The panel’s chairman, Democratic Senator Carl Levin, had said in late October that it would hold a hearing in November and that he hoped to “to find a way to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” as the policy is widely known.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), said in a recent interview with the Washington Blade that repealing the 1993 law barring gays from serving openly in the military would happen as part of the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization act, which would be next year’s version of an annual defense policy bill.

Obama, who has drawn fire from gay rights’ groups for not taking steps to freeze or repeal the rule, has said the US Congress is the best venue for undoing the policy.

About 13,000 US service members have been discharged under the policy.

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