Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a lukewarm endorsement Tuesday of a Democratic plan to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The proposed agreement - reached Monday by the White House and top congressional Democrats - calls for a repeal of the controversial policy to become final after completion of the military review expected by the end of 2010, followed by a review certification from President Obama, Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Initial votes on the proposal in the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House of Representatives could occur as soon as Thursday, sources have said.
Gates "continues to believe that ideally the [Defense Department] review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal" the "don't ask, don't tell" law, according to a Pentagon statement.
But "with Congress having indicated that is not possible, the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment."
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