The US Supreme Court declined a request to lift the ban on out gay troops serving in the military on Friday.
In the latest round of the fight to have the law repealed, Republican gay group Log Cabin Republicans asked the court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that the ban should remain in place indefinitely.
The Supreme Court upheld the ruling and did not comment.
Last month, the gay group won a ruling by a US District Judge that the policy should be lifted immediately.
The ban was lifted for just eight days before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the ban should stay in place while the Justice Department appealed it.
Focus will now turn to Congress, which began a lame-duck session today.
America’s largest gay rights group, Human Rights Campaign, is calling for grassroots action to urge the Senate to pass a defence bill with a repeal measure attached.
The annual National Defense Authorization Act has been passed by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee with the repeal measure and must now be passed by the Senate.
The White House is understood to be keen to see the law repealed through Congress but controversial measures may be removed from the bill to ensure it passes in the brief time window available.