Senators to call for full-court press on 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Some of the chief supporters of repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military are upping their pressure on Congress to scrap the law this year.

Nine senators will be joined by the nation’s most prominent gay rights organizations on Thursday to make the case that Congress should repeal the Clinton-era law, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” as part of the massive 2011 defense authorization bill.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem suggests race factored into Obama Senate endorsement Obama, Biden back Kamala Harris in Calif. Senate race Tim Scott says he was targeted by Capitol Police MORE (D-Calif.), Ron WydenRon WydenDems push for US, EU cooperation on China's market status Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Watchdog faults Energy Department over whistleblower retaliation MORE (D-Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyNBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law When America denies citizenship to servicemembers Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship MORE (D-Vt.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinHotel lobby cheers scrutiny on Airbnb GOP platform attempts middle ground on encryption debate Week ahead: Encryption fight poised to heat up MORE (D-Calif.), and Al FrankenAl FrankenWhy Kaine is the right choice for Clinton Liberals press Clinton not to pick Kaine for VP Franken: Convention 'ugliest' I've seen MORE (D-Minn.) will hold a press conference at the Capitol Visitors Center at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. They will be joined by representatives from the Human Rights Campaign; the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; Servicemembers United; the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Third Way.

Repeal still faces an uphill battle in Congress because of opposition from key Republicans, including Sen. John McCainJohn McCainFox News bests major networks in convention ratings Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ Why a bill about catfish will show whether Ryan's serious about regulatory reform MORE (Ariz.), who said he would filibuster a defense bill that contains the provision. Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinAs other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? Fight for taxpayers draws fire MORE (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a key supporter of repeal, said that he would hold hearings immediately after the Pentagon releases a report on the implications of repealing the ban. That report is due Dec. 1.

The report and hearings could breathe some life into the efforts to repeal the ban, but much depends on how long Congress will be in session in December and whether there will be enough time to iron out differences on the bill with the House. Also, Republican opposition to including repeal in the defense bill is also not likely to ease up over the next few weeks.

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