Obama signs ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal

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President Barack Obama today signed into law the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. The measure will overturn the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers.

"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,” Obama said at the signing ceremony, according to C-SPAN.

“And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love. 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."

The repeal came in spite of a GOP filibuster in the Senate. After failure to pass the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill, a larger military bill that included repeal language, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a stand-alone piece of legislation that passed by a 65-31 vote on Saturday.

A Pentagon study released this month concluded that allowing openly gay or lesbian troops to serve in the military would have little lasting impact on the U.S. forces. Before the ban is lifted, the president, Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen must certify that the military would not suffer any adverse effects from the policy change. There is also a mandatory 60-day waiting period after certification before the policy is lifted.