MELBOURNE – Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday he hoped the outgoing Congress would approve legislation ending the military's ban on gays, but was unsure of the prospects for success.

President Barack Obama has pledged to do away with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, adopted in 1993, but big gains by Republicans in the Nov. 2 elections have raised doubts about ending the ban once the new Congress takes power in January.

Republicans, many of whom oppose repeal, will take control of the House of Representatives and won seats in the Senate.