Obama signs bill lifting ban on gays serving openly in the military

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 lifting the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the U.S. armed forces at the Department of the Interior in Washington, Dec. 22, 2010.

WASHINGTON— U.S. President Barack Obama says valour and sacrifice in the armed forces are no longer defined by sexual orientation.

Obama spoke Wednesday morning at the Interior Department, where he signed a landmark law ordering America’s armed services to let gay men and women serve openly for the first time.

Surrounded by senior military officials and members of Congress, Obama said he is proud to sign the bill, which he says will strengthen national security.

The change won’t be immediate, however.

The bill requires the military service chiefs to complete implementation plans before lifting the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and certify to legislators that it won’t damage combat readiness, as critics charge.

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