An internal Pentagon study has concluded that most U.S. troops and their families would support a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
The findings of the investigation were leaked over a month early to NBC News on Thursday night -- though the results will still not be released until December 1, when the Pentagon plans to reveal its plan for legislative repeal of the policy.
While President Obama; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all supported the repeal of the controversial policy, the administration has opted to move slowly on the task so as not to affect military readiness as the nation fights two wars.
The survey, which was given to 400,000 troops and 150,000 family members, was issued in February as a part of a Pentagon investigation into the effects of repealing the policy within the military. Officials had expressed concern that a repeal could prompt a backlash within the forces.
As of last night, officials told NBC that the working group is analyzing the results of the survey and coordinating a plan to overturn the policy if Congress does repeal the law.
Earlier this month, a federal district court judge in California ruled that "don't ask, don't tell" was unconstitutional, effectively halting the practice.
The Obama administration, which supports legislative repeal, requested a halt on the injunction, adding that the administration planned to wait until the Pentagon report was released in December. A federal appeals court granted the request after it was denied by the judge.
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