President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen announced today that they have certified the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which prevents gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military. Congress repealed the ban in December, giving the Pentagon an open timetable for rolling back the policy. After today’s certification, there will be a 60-day waiting period before repeal is fully implemented.
“This day has been a long time coming,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, thousands of brave men and women have been forced out of the military or prevented from serving their country at all, simply because of who they are and who they love. That’s not the kind of country the United States is.
“By repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Congress and the president have sent the powerful message to all young men and women growing up in the United States: if they are willing and able, their country will welcome their service and sacrifice. This repeal strengthens our military and strengthens the values at the foundation of our country. Gays and lesbians have always served honorably in our armed forces. Today’s decision means that they’ll finally be able to do so openly and honestly."