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Published on Dec 22, 2010
Declaring that gay and lesbian servicemembers will no longer be asked to lie, President Barack Obama kept a campaign promise Wednesday at a White House ceremony, signing a landmark repeal of the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the armed services.
The law ends the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that forced gays to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal.
Pentagon officials must finish implementation plans before removing the old policy. The president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must certify to lawmakers that it won't damage combat readiness, as critics charge. But the president said: "We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done."