SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2011
US President Barack Obama has formally signed off an ending to the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
President Barack Obama has finally fulfilled one of his 2008 campaign pledges by ending the ban on gays in the military which has stood for nearly a century.
The president joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the joint chiefs of staff chairman, in signing a notice and sending it to Congress certifying that military readiness would not be hurt by repealing the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
That means that 60 days from now the ban will be lifted.
"As commander in chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness," Obama said in a statement.
"Today's action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country," he added.
The move was expected under the repeal law Congress passed in December. Before "don't ask, don't tell," the military did not allow gays to serve. But in 1993 former President Bill Clinton had said gays would be discharged only if their sexual orientation became known.
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