ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
President Obama today certified a repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military, a law which he said “undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality.”
“Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian,” Obama said in a written statement.
The president announced that he has formally repealed the 17-year-old law after an Oval Office meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. The repeal will take effect 60 days from now.
“As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country,” said Obama, who initially signed legislation to repeal the law in December.
The president commended the nation’s civilian and military leadership for moving forward with the change and thanked the men and women in uniform for their “professionalism and patriotism” during this transition.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Obama said.