WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers this week will press the military's top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing "don't ask, don't tell" makes sense or would be too disruptive.
The testimony from each of the service chiefs on Capitol Hill will be crucial to the debate in Congress on whether to repeal the 17-year-old law, which bans gays from serving openly in the military.
President Barack Obama says the policy unfairly punishes patriots who want to serve their country. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees and has begun a yearlong study on how to mitigate the impact of lifting the ban.
Providing much-needed political cover is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who has said he thinks the law unfairly forces gay troops to compromise their integrity by lying about who they are.