Democratic leaders in the Senate are weighing their options on repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay troops from serving openly.

House members approved repeal of the ban in May when they passed next year's defense budget, which included a repeal amendment. A similar Senate maneuver was achieved in committee.

With a bevy of Senate races rated as toss-ups and Republicans threatening to filibuster the bill, Democratic leaders are carefully considering the timing of repeal.

Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a Republican, has announced he'll introduce an amendment on the Senate floor to strike repeal language from the bill.

Inhofe told the Baptist Press that he believes Democrats will hold off on repeal until after the mid-term elections.

“Those people coming up for an election in November – and I'm talking about the wobbly Democrats who want to do what the Democrats say to do but they know how the people at home feel – they don't want to [be] on record [voting in favor of repeal],” he said.

Republican Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri agreed, saying the “big window of danger is after the elections.”

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is keeping mum on when he'll bring the bill to the floor, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a major backer of repeal in the Senate, is urging Reid to do so in September, after lawmakers return from August recess.

Levin told DC gay weekly the Washington Blade that he's working on a deal between majority and minority leaderships that would eliminate the possibility of a Republican filibuster.

“What we're hoping to do before August is to have an agreement which will pave the way for it being brought up right after the recess,” Levin said.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group lobbying for repeal of the gay ban, said it backed the plan.

“This bill … should not be caught up in post election games and posturing,” he said.

Meanwhile, a trial that seeks to end the policy wrapped up Friday in a California courtroom.