The Senate will vote next week on
repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that forbids gay
troops from serving openly.
Aides to Majority Leader Harry Reid
confirmed the Nevada senator's decision to various news outlets.
The repeal language is tucked inside
the annual Defense Department authorization bill approved by the
House in May.
Gay rights activists working on repeal
of the law that demands discharge for gay and lesbian service members
who do not remain closeted or celibate cheered the news.
“We applaud the senate majority
leader's courage and his statement tonight to bring the defense bill
to the floor. Now we must deliver,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive
director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest
group lobbying for repeal, said in a statement.
Republicans, led by Arizona Senator
John McCain, have threatened to filibuster the bill.
“Sen. John McCain has been a strong
and vocal opponent from the start and it is critical that we beat
back any filibuster threat, defeat attempts to strike repeal, and
defeat any crippling amendments,” Sarvis said.
The news comes ten days after a
federal judge in California ruled the policy unconstitutional.