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Pentagon Study Finds Minimal Risk in Ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

(WASHINGTON) -- A forthcoming Pentagon study on the impact of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" will reportedly show that most service members wouldn't care if they had to live and work alongside openly gay and lesbian peers.

Seventy percent of respondents to a confidential military survey said they expected positive, mixed or non-existent effects from lifting the ban, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Two sources familiar with the closely-held draft report told the Post there's little evidence that changing the law would significantly hurt unit cohesion or combat readiness.

But 40 percent of Marines expressed concern over repeal, according to the sources, a finding that is likely to embolden political opponents of changing the law.

Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, have vehemently opposed a legislative change to the ban on gay troops during a time of war, or at least prior to completion of the survey to allow troops to share their views.

But with the eagerly-anticipated study now nearing release and its findings shared with members of Congress, advocates for repeal hope the political dynamic will change.

The House passed a Defense Authorization bill in September that includes a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," but a similar measure failed in the Senate, where Republicans threatened a filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised another vote during the lame-duck session which begins next week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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