The Obama administration has agreed to a compromise measure on repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the law that forbids gay troops from revealing their sexual orientation, the Washington Post reported.

The breakthrough comes after Democratic congressional leaders, officials from the Obama administration and major gay rights groups met on Monday.

Under the compromise, repeal of the military gay ban would not take effect until after the Defense Department has completed its study on how to integrate openly gay troops in the military. The study is already underway and expected to wrap up in December.

Before repeal takes effect, the president, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must certify that the new policy is consistent with standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, military recruiting and retention.

Gay groups lobbying for repeal cheered the announcement.

“The White House announcement is a dramatic breakthrough in dismantling 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said.

“If enacted this welcomed compromise will create a process for the president and the Pentagon to implement a new policy for lesbian and gay service members to serve our country openly, hopefully within a matter of months,” he added.

Last month, military leaders urged Congress to delay repeal until after its review was complete, a move the president endorsed. But Democratic leaders on both sides of Congress decided to ignore their pleas and act on legislative repeal this week.

While Congressional leaders could have moved ahead with repeal on their own, the compromise will likely help win over fence sitting lawmakers and shore up support in Congress.

Proponents of repeal are pursing different paths in each chamber: Senators will attempt to attach repeal language to next year's defense budget in the Armed Services Committee, while House members will vote on a similar maneuver on the floor after House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton blocked the issue last week.

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy, a vocal supporter of repeal, will offer his amendment after the committee hands over the measure to the full House. While Murphy has said he has the votes needed to attach his amendment, an official co-sponsor count puts the bill 25 votes short.

Fifteen votes are needed to attach repeal language in the Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by Senator Carl Levin. The Michigan Democrat is among the Senate's most ardent supporters of repeal. But the committee's ranking Republican, Arizona Senator John McCain, has become the face of opposition to repeal in the Senate. The committee is expected to act on Thursday.

In a letter addressed to the president, Murphy, Levin and Senator Joseph Lieberman, who also sits on the Armed Services Committee, reiterated their commitment to repeal of the gay ban.

“It is our firm belief that it is time to repeal this discriminatory policy that not only dishonors those who are willing to give their lives in service to their country but also prevents capable men and women with vital skills from serving in the Armed Forces at a time when our nation is fighting two wars,” the men wrote.

Conservatives opposed to repeal say the policy is working and should not be repealed at a time when the country is facing two wars. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a group opposed to gay rights, decried the agreement as “a back room deal” that “uses the military to advance the political agenda of a radical special interest group.”