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Obama, Pentagon certify repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ — ban ends in 60 days

Friday, July 22, 2011

President Barack Obama has formally signed the certification that repeals the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The White House confirmed the certification following a meeting in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Official White House photograph, by Pete Souza.

As laid out in the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president last December, the repeal will take effect 60 days from now ending the 17-year-old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Following is the official White House statement:

Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality. In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days—on September 20, 2011.

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. 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. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war. I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition. Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans.

“For far too long, the ban on openly gay service members has harmed our security and tarnished our values. The President’s certification of repeal is a monumental step, not just for those forced to lie in order to serve, but for all Americans who believe in fairness and equality,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese, in a statement.

“There are many people who brought this historic day to fruition starting with the President’s tremendous leadership and the steadfast allies in Congress who refused to give in to the lies and fear mongering. Additionally we thank all of the brave men and women who have continued to wear the uniform under a policy that forced them to hide who they are. The end of that shameful time is thankfully near,” Solmonese said.

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26 more reader comments:

  1. Yes.

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 2:19pm
  2. . Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

    AMEN!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 2:30pm
  3. Yea,

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 2:46pm
  4. . Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

    It’s about TIME!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 2:55pm
  5. That took rather longer than anyone would have wished.

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:01pm
  6. I still won’t believe it until it really happens! Hope they keep their word.

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:24pm
  7. About time, good for the Democrats

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:29pm
  8. God this almost made me cry and then i saw – ends in 60 days god I hope it actually happens

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:29pm
  9. Hey Randy, back off… we are on the same side!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:30pm
  10. i hope this isn’t a joke and this time it actually stays in place…

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:41pm
  11. yea, lets hope the republicans don’t waste our money and hire attorneys to stop it. I suspect this will cause Michelle Bachmann to have a migraine tonight.

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:44pm
  12. @Brett Tonight, and every night! Then her closeted husband can get out of his marital duties. ;)

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:48pm
  13. I am sure it goes the other way around “Don’t you have a migraine tonight Michelle?”

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 3:50pm
  14. Marital duties…lmao. Sounds like the 50s , you guys cracked me up!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 4:07pm
  15. not much aware of usa’s politics. but I like Obama

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 4:54pm
  16. WELL IT’S ABOUT F*CKING TIME!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:08pm
  17. …Y*A*Y!!!…

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:10pm
  18. took long enough!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:12pm
  19. Finally!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:14pm
  20. Thank GOD! FINALLY!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:19pm
  21. Yes It’z About Time Indeed! ~But Hey, At Least President Obama Finally Did What He Said He “Promised” To Do. U Have To At Least Give Him “Credit” for That. Maybe He Could Do A Little More For “Gay Rights” But He’s Done What All Other “Former” President’s Never Could Do…(i.e.: Including Bush & Clinton who wouldn’t even “Consider” Such Historic Legislation that effects Gay’s In The Military) & The Gay Community. It’s a Step in The Right Direction for Us ALL!

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:45pm
  22. I still hold all of the Career Military people that have been negatively affected by the old policy close to my heart. Too many good Women and Men were dismissed of their duties during the gay witch hunt. One very dear friend of mine was discharged for helping the wife of an officer that had been beaten by him to get out of the situation. She was seen walking her from the door with her arm around her shoulder. The bad environment that those discriminatory practices caused will be gone for good. And they can all get back to the business of defending our country! Thank you President Obama for keeping your word!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 2:27am
  23. • 14,317 people were discharged under DADT (November 1993 – July 2011).
    • 78,000 bisexuals, lesbians, and gays are serving in the U.S. military today.
    • Millions served successfully through the 20th and 21st centuries.
    • 41 other nations also allow open military service, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 4:50am
  24. I actually do not know what to say. This has been such a struggle and I spent over 20 years looking over my shoulder, ever single day I was in uniform. I am elated that this president had the wherewithal to finally acknowledge the service of our many LGBT service members. But I yet mourn all the lives ruined because of ignorance and discrimination. My brothers and sisters in uniform, do not think this is the end. There are many issues still at stake. Do not think you will be safe. You must yet remain vigilant and on guard. Now that you can openly serve there will be backlash. And problems will now arise in where the LGBT will sleep, shower, etc. This country is still so backward. Serve proudly but please do not be naive. I stand and I salute you! We have won a battle but the war does yet still rage!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:11am
  25. NOW that’s what I call “doing domething”. There’s still a lot of work ahead but that’s a fresh start even if long awaited.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 10:32am
  26. U know how sometimes ppl say this makes my day. Well THIS MAKES MY LIFE

    Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:39pm