WASHINGTON — Gay-rights advocates said yesterday that they hoped Congress will be moved to repeal the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ after a Pentagon study found it could be done with little harm to the military.
The Senate is expected to vote next month on ending the 17-year-old legislation barring gays from serving openly in the armed forces. Several senators, including Republican Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia, have said they wanted to see the study’s findings before deciding how to vote.
Repeal opponents said that the group leading the study, which has not been released publicly, was biased and that selected details were leaked this week in an effort to drum up public support for repeal.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered the review in February, calling change inevitable but saying the study was needed to prepare for an orderly transition to openly gay service.
The internal assessment concluded that the repeal carries little risk, with more than 70 percent of troops saying that allowing gays to serve openly would have positive, mixed, or no results, according to an official familiar with the report’s findings. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the report won’t be released publicly until after Dec. 1.