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'Don't Ask' Repeal Would Not Be 'Wrenching,' Gates Says

A survey of men and women in the military, and a study of what would likely happen, shows that repealing the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would not produce "the wrenching, dramatic change that many have feared and predicted," Defense Secretary Robert Gates just said.

As we reported earlier, the Pentagon is today releasing its report on repeal of the policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military.

The House has already passed legislation to repeal don't ask, don't tell, and "I strongly urge the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president for his signature before the end of this year," Gates said. His concern: If action is delayed, courts may become even more involved in the issue and that could make the Pentagon's job more difficult.

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: The Pentagon's report and related materials are now posted here.

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET: Asked about members of the military who object to serving with gays, Gates said that if Congress votes to repeal the policy it is expressing the will of the American people. "You are the American military," he would say to any of those who object, "and we will do this."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.