An ongoing Pentagon study of potential impacts of lifting the ban on openly gay troops is due to be completed by Dec. 1. But it's unclear how soon the results of that study will be shared with top military brass and members of Congress.
Sources familiar with a draft copy of the study have said the findings reveal minimal risk to ending policy and that most service members wouldn't care if they had to live and work alongside openly gay and lesbian peers.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised another vote on a defense authorization bill that includes repeal, in the weeks before Congress adjourns for the year and Republicans assume new seats in both chambers.
The House has already approved a conditional repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."
President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen have all endorsed ending the policy and want Congress to consider a repeal during the upcoming lame duck session.
"I would like to see the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are," Gates told reporters last weekend while traveling to Australia.
More than 75 percent of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, a support rate higher than at any other time since the policy took effect in 1993, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.