A US federal appeals court has ruled that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should stay in place indefinitely.

The decision by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals means that the ban on out gay soldiers is expected to be retained throughout a legal battle over whether it is constitutional.

Last month the court granted a temporary stay after the Obama administration appealed an earlier ruling by a district judge that the ban should end immediately.

For just eight days, the ban was repealed. Several veterans sacked for being gay attempted to re-enlist, although all were warned that the ban’s legal status was uncertain.

The Pentagon is due to release a report into how the policy can be repealed on December 1st.

Last week, sources said that a survey into the attitudes of troops and their families found that most were okay with the idea of serving alongside out gay colleagues.

A minority of troops are understood to be strongly opposed to allowing out gay servicemembers in the military and say they will quit if this happens.

The Pentagon has not commented on reports and says it will not do so until December.