Activists campaigning against the US military’s ban on openly gay or lesbian recruits have begun a blog counting down the Top 10 Don’t Ask Don’t Tell stories of 2006.

Frontlines, the official blog of the SLDN, will re-visit a significant story from the past year each day, counting down to the most important event related to the military’s gay ban on Friday, December 15th.

Since 1993, 11,082 members of the Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard and Air Force have been discharged, and in the last year the Service members Legal Defence Network has recorded a spike in dismissals despite the US forces requiring help.

Overall 726 soldiers were dismissed in 2005 for being gay, these include recruits in vital roles such as Arabic translators.

Recently several politicians, academics and military veterans have joined calls to repeal the ban,

a brief has been issued to the First Circuit Court of Appeals urging it to reverse a lower court ruling regarding the federal law.

The brief was filed on November 22 2006 in support of the plaintiffs in Cook v. Rumsfeld, a constitutional challenge to the law.

It argues that the ban promotes discrimination and that gays and lesbians do not diminish morale in units.

“This has been a remarkable year of progress in the campaign to lift the ban,” said SLDN executive director C Dixon Osburn. “The events of 2006 have moved us closer than ever to repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

“The stage is also set for an historic year ahead, with 2007 promising to be a watershed year in the fight for equal opportunity in our armed forces.”