In a ceremony in Washington, President Obama signed into law a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays and lesbians in the military. Pentagon officials have stated that the timeline to implement their plan to counter the 17-year-old policy is expected to take at least several months.
Over the weekend, the Senate voted 65-31 in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which lifts the ban against gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. The House approved the bill earlier last week by a vote of 250-174.
The president released a statement following the Senate’s vote praising the chamber’s actions and expressed confidence that the military can responsibly transition to the new policy while ensuring its strength and readiness.
"By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love," Mr. Obama said. "It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed."