[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/23/art.carllevin.gi.jpg caption=" Carl Levin's spokeswoman confirmed the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing next month on the controversial 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing next month on the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, committee chairman Carl Levin's spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
The precise date for the November hearing hasn't been set yet, said Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa.
The Michigan senator, who supports ending that policy, made the announcement after a Friday event marking the passage of a bill that extends hate crimes protection to victims assaulted because of their sexual orientation. "My hope is that we are going to find a way to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell," Levin said, according to AFP. The Armed Services Committee had previously announced it would debate the policy sometime this fall.
President Obama has faced criticism from the gay community for not moving forward quickly to repeal the policy. Earlier this month, at a fundraiser for a gay rights organization, he pledged to end the practice of discharging members of the military because of their sexual orientation, but did not give a timeline for when that might happen.
"We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country," Obama told the Human Rights Campaign on October 11. "I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy, legislation that has been introduced in the House to make this happen