“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – the 17-year-old policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military – has become a heated issue in elections in Nevada, Missouri and Florida.

The issue gained prominence in late May, when the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House of Representatives voted to allow the Department of Defense to repeal the rule, The New York Times reported.  On Sept. 9, a federal district judge in California ruled that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, according to CNN. And on Sept. 13, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the 2011 defense authorization bill, which includes a repeal of the policy, could be put to a vote in the Senate as early as the week of Sept. 20, according to Politico.

Reid, who favors repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is in a neck-and-neck race for re-election in Nevada against Republican challenger Sharron Angle, theAssociated Press reported. The Family Research Council Political Action Committee, a conservative Christian advocacy group, has run