Two officials from the Department of Defense called for the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy Tuesday during a Senate hearing.
The announcement, made during a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, was a call to end a 16-year-old policy of banning gay and lesbian people from being in the military.
"No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an article in the New York Times.
According to a report by Politico, the military would launch a review into the changes necessary in order to implement the change in policy which Defense Secretary Robert Gates said would be detailed "by the end of the calendar year".
For some, however, the review process is far too long. "A year is not a reasonable time frame," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of gay advocacy group Lambda Legal. "This may be the first step, but, boy, when they say a year, I get that knot in my stomach. This seems like too little, too slow."
BBC News reports that 428 service members were dismissed from the military in 2009 under the policy, down from 619 in 2008, and far below the 1997 of 997.
Polls show broad support for gays and lesbians openly serving in the military according to the New York Times, which wasn't the case when the law was originally created in 1993.