A change to the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays in the military will be delayed despite promises by the Obama administration to overturn the rule, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday.
"The president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit," Gates told "FOX News Sunday."
In January, President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was asked whether his boss would overturn "don't ask, don't tell.” Gibbs' reply -- videotaped for YouTube -- was unequivocal.
"You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes,'" Gibbs said.
But Gates now says the Pentagon will continue to enforce the existing policy, which bars service members from proclaiming their sexual orientation and commanding officers from asking about it. However, the policy states that if it becomes known that a service member is gay, he or she is to be removed from the military.
"It continues to be the law and any change in policy would require a change in the law," Gates said. "We will follow the law, whatever it is.
"That dialogue, though, has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration," he added.
Bill Sammon is FOX News Channel's (FNC) vice president of News and Washington managing editor.