White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has joined Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in warning that failure to legislatively repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” during the lame-duck session would leave courts to decide the issue.

“Do this legislatively, which provides an avenue with which to implement the policy,” Gibbs told reporters on Monday. “A court doing this is not likely to provide the Pentagon and others with a pathway for doing this.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Gates repeated a similar warning on Sunday: “If this law is going to change, it's better to be changed by legislation rather than have it struck down by the courts.”

Also on Sunday, Mullen echoed a similar sentiment: “The courts are very active on this. And my concern is that at some point in time the courts could change this law and in that not give us the right amount of time to implement it.”

A federal appeals court in California will consider a lower court's ruling that declared unconstitutional the law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly. The court also reinstated the policy after U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ordered the government to stop its enforcement.

The Senate's Democratic leadership has pledged to vote on a defense bill that includes language that would repeal the law after the Thanksgiving break. Hearings to consider a Pentagon report on how to implement repeal have also been scheduled.

According to the Washington Post, the report, which is to be released a day earlier than previously announced, is expected to show a majority of service members are okay with serving and living alongside openly gay troops.

Repeal backers are optimistic that the report will convince undecided senators to vote for repeal.