Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Independence Referendum Too Close to Call (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Scottish referendum in the media

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Homosexuality in Africa: Kenyan movie debuts at Toronto Film Festival

Read more

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Indpendence Referendum Too Close to Call

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Inger Andersen, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Scottish referendum: Should I stay or should I go?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Paris conference: A coalition against the Islamic State group

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Spies, doppelgangers and gay rights activists

Read more

Americas

Military ready to repeal gay ban, Obama says

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-22

In a landmark move, President Barack Obama has signed a certification that ends the 17-year old "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military. The policy will be officially repealed on September 20.

AFP - US President Barack Obama certified Friday that the US military was ready to accept openly gay troops after a lengthy battle to lift a ban that forced gay soldiers to hide their sexuality.

 

"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," Obama said in a statement.

His statement came after he signed a certification with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, that the US military was ready to accept gay troops.

The repeal of the ban, dubbed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," will now come into force in 60 days' time, on September 20.

The ban was overturned in a law adopted in December that first required the top military officer, the defense secretary and the president to certify that the change would not harm military readiness and that the armed forces were ready to carry it out.

In the interim, the Pentagon has drawn up new manuals and prepared the entire armed forces, some 2.3 million people who serve as both active troops and reservists, for the new policy.

"As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country," Obama said.

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

Former soldiers and gay rights groups have fought for years to overturn the ban, which was introduced in 1993 as a compromise after military chiefs rejected a bid by former president Bill Clinton to open the doors to gay soldiers.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" required gay troops to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the forces, and since 1993, an estimated 14,000 service members have been kicked out of the military under the rule.

 

Date created : 2011-07-22

  • USA

    Senate votes against reviewing US military's policy on gays

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama strikes deal to end Clinton-era military policy on gays

    Read more

  • USA

    Top military chief endorses Obama plan to lift ban on gays

    Read more

COMMENT(S)