Former US soldiers took off their boots before visits to capitol hill to protest for a repeal of 'Don't ask, don't tell' [AFP]

The US supreme court has rejected an appeal by a gay rights group to allow openly gay men and women serve in the country's military.

The court on Friday denied the Log Cabin Republicans' request that sought to have the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy rescinded, while a federal appeals court considers the case.

That policy, adopted in 1993, requires homosexual soldiers to keep their sexual orientation private.

The Log Cabin Republicans asked to rescind the policy following reports that a Defence Department panel has found that the military would suffer no harm to current war efforts if it lifted the 17-year-old ban.

Last month, Virginia Phillips, a federal judge in California, ruled in favor of the gay rights group, saying that the policy violates the civil rights of gay Americans. She issued an injunction that barred the Pentagon from applying it.

But the ban lasted for only eight days before the San Francisco-based appeals court said the policy could remain in effect while it considered an appeal from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, that sought to keep "Don't ask don't tell" in place.

Obama has requested to have the policy upheld because he specifically wants congress to pass a new law rescinding it and urged courts to not get involved at this time.  

While such legislation has passed the House of Representatives, it has been stymied in the Senate though legislators plan to try again next week.

Obama has pledged to push the Senate to repeal the policy in the lame-duck session before a new congress is sworn in.

Source: Agencies