U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, are being credited with forcing their peers, the White House, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reform military policies and make it easier for gays and lesbians to serve their country, according to Politico . Among those backing the repeal of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule is Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, who will join the likes of Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, to push defense legislation with the change in it, according to The Colorado Independent . The effort has predictably pleased gay and lesbian rights groups. It also would make Rob Smith, an Iraq war veteran and New York-based freelance writer, happy. He writes in Salon : "For a gay soldier like me, the military's policy undermined the one thing every combat unit requires: Trust," placing troops' lives at risk.