Pop star Lady Gaga visited the US state of Maine on the eve of a key Senate vote to urge its two US senators to help repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays.
More than 2,000 people attended a rally at Deering Oaks Park, where the Grammy Award-winning singer stood alongside Air Force, Army and Marine veterans who were discharged because of the policy, which prohibits service members from revealing if they are gay and recruiters from asking about people's sexual orientations.
Lady Gaga railed against what she called the injustice of having good-hearted gay soldiers booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbour hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country.
She suggested a new policy should target straight soldiers who are "uncomfortable" with gay soldiers in their midst.
"Our new law is called 'If you don't like it, go home!"' she said.
The rally was organised by Washington-based Servicemembers Legal Defence Network.
The organisation is trying to pressure Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine to vote to allow a repeal of the "don't ask" policy, put in place in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton.
The House approved a defence authorisation bill that includes a repeal of the "don't ask" policy.
In the Senate, Democrats need 60 votes to cut off debate and proceed to the bill, again putting Ms Snowe and Ms Collins in the role of casting what could be deciding votes.Reuse content