Change in Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Is Put on Hold

Legislation to allow gays to serve openly is delayed pending decisions on Iraq withdrawal timing.

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Lawmakers planning to take advantage of a Democrat in the White House to overturn the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" policy targeting homosexuals are on hold until President Obama decides what to do in Iraq. Lawmakers and their aides say that there will be a legislative move to overturn the gay ban, but that it won't happen for several months.

At issue: What does Obama plan to do in Iraq. Foes of the ban don't want to complicate Obama's plan to begin withdrawing troops by introducing the gay issue until after the troops begin coming home.

After that decision is made, the legislation will be introduced and very likely given a quick hearing and timely vote, said the officials.

In Congress, the issue of allowing gays to serve openly in the military is being led by Democratic Reps. Barney Frank of New York and Ellen Tauscher of California.