US military to certify ready for repeal of gay ban

By REUTERS
July 22, 2011 03:17

 
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WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will announce on Friday that the US military is ready to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, the last major hurdle to formally ending the policy, US officials said on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama last year signed a landmark law to allow for the repeal of the nearly 18-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that forced gays to keep their sexual orientation secret in order to serve in the military.

But Pentagon leaders first needed to certify that military readiness would not suffer as a result -- something that will now be done by new US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, the top US military officer, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Once the Pentagon has signed off, Obama can certify the repeal -- fulfilling a 2008 campaign promise to end a policy that saw more than 13,000 men and women expelled from the military because of their sexual orientation.

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