US Senator Joe Lieberman is to introduce a bill next week to repeal the ban on out gays and lesbians serving in the US military.

Mr Lieberman is independent but conservative and is a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He told the New York Daily News in an interview published today that he would introduce the bill next week.

Following the interview, he released a statement confirming this.

Mr Lieberman said: “I will be proud to be a sponsor of the important effort to enable patriotic gay Americans to defend our national security and our founding values of freedom and opportunity.

“I have opposed the current policy of preventing gay Americans from openly serving in the military since its enactment in 1993.”

He added: “To exclude one group of Americans from serving in the armed forces is contrary to our fundamental principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and weakens our defences by denying our military the service of a large group of Americans who can help our cause.”

Today, the New York Times reported that a study to be published tomorrow will show that other countries have suffered no disruption as a result of lifting gay bans in their militaries.

The law was introduced in 1993 as a compromise from a full ban on gay military personnel.

Up to 13,0000 trained soldiers are thought to have been fired under it since it came into law/

President Barack Obama supports repeal, along with a number of high-ranking military and civilian leaders. This month, a Senate Armed Services Committee began hearings on how the law can be changed.