President Barack Obama has begun consulting his top defence advisers on how to lift a ban on homosexuals openly serving in the military.
But the administration will not say how soon the change might happen.
The move enables Mr Obama to say he is delivering on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but does not lock him into doing so anytime soon.
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A statement released this week by White House spokesman Tommy Vietor is vague enough to prevent the controversial issue from overshadowing Mr Obama’s foreign policy agenda, which is dominated by ending the Iraq war and salvaging operations in Afghanistan.
“The president supports changing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”‘ Mr Vietor said in the e-mailed statement. That is the compromise solution for the emotional subject that ended hot debate after the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, proposed in the early 1990s to let openly gay men and lesbians serve.