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Durbin hopes for 'don't ask' repeal during lame duck session

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Durbin hopes for 'don't ask' repeal during lame duck session

The Senate’s No 2 Democrat said a repeal should come up for a vote before the new Congress is sworn in.

AP/Seth Perlman

The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate says he hopes Congress repeals the prohibition on gays serving openly in the military when Congress reconvenes Monday for its lame duck session.

But it’s still unclear whether there’s the political will for a repeal.

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he hopes Congress repeals the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in November or early December.

“This is something that we should do before the end of the year,” Durbin said. “We’ve studied it, we’ve analyzed it, our military leaders have told us its the right thing to do, and I happen to believe it’s the right thing for America.”

Calls to repeal the law have been getting louder since last week, when sources leaked information about a military study on the effects of the policy to the Washington Post newspaper. The study, which isn’t officially due out until Dec. 1, reportedly found more than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays would be positive, mixed or nonexistent.

Opponents are calling the study biased, and say the leak of selected findings to the media was intended to manipulate the debate.

Durbin says he isn’t sure whether the votes are there to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell.” And the task could grow more difficult come January, when the new class of congressmen - including GOP lamakers who helped capture the House majority on Nov. 2 - is sworn in.

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