New figures obtained by an organisation dedicated to fighting the ban on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the US Armed Forces, and Americans want the military gay ban to end. 627 people were discharged last year from the country’s military under a law introduced in 1993 referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In the US Army, women make up 15% of soldiers Retired high-ranking military leaders, such as former Joint Chiefs Chairman John Shalikashvili and Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, have called for an end to the DADT law, which is estimated to have cost American taxpayers more than $364m (£182m) since its inception. More than 12,000 men and women have been dismissed since 1993. An estimated 65,000 lesbian and gay service members serve on active duty and in the reserves of the United States military, according to the SLDN, which is a non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organisation dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel. The most senior US military veteran in the House of Representatives has called for an end to the ban. Democrat Congressman Joe Sestak, who served 31 years in the Navy, retiring with the rank of three-star Admiral, is one of seventeen veterans in Congress who want to repeal the law. Nearly 150 of his Congressional colleagues have lent their support to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act which would repeal the law and allow lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to serve openly. "It is easy for me to see why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be repealed," said Congressman Sestak. "Once you have served in war and faced danger with a gay service member, how can you come home and say gay people should not enjoy equal rights?" The issue of gays and lesbians serving in the Armed Forces still divides politicians in the US. For the rest of the countries in the NATO alliance, the claims and counter-claims about unit cohesion and the "influence" of gays on fighting men seem like echoes from another time. The Dutch lifted their ban on gays in 1974, Australia followed in 1992 and Canada soon after. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people have served openly in the British Armed Forces since 2000. Nearly all other Western nations allow openly gay, bisexual and lesbian people to serve openly. In the UK the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force not only allow gay people to serve but actively supports them. Personally, I am absolutely staggered at the figure of 65000. What were we saying about those pink undies?