US president Barack Obama’s national security adviser has said he will tackle the issue of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military “at the appropriate time”.

Obama promised to scrap the controversial policy in his election campaign but as yet, has not done so.

His adviser James Jones said yesterday that the president has “an awful lot” on his plate but will get round to repealing the law.

He told CNN’s State of the Union: “I know this is an issue that he intends to take on at the appropriate time.

“The Defence Department is doing the things it has to do to prepare, but at the right time, I’m sure the president will take it on.”

Nicknamed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, the law prevents superiors asking about the sexual orientation of their charges but also means servicemembers must not engage in any “homosexual conduct”.

Since its inception in 1993, almost 13,000 servicemembers have been dismissed under the law.