Newly appointed Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to formally certify today that the services are ready to implement the repeal of Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell, the 17-year-old law that barred homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
The move comes just three weeks after he was formally sworn into office and little more than a week after the service chiefs certified the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force were ready to implement repeal. Itâ€™s anticipated that Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen will likewise certify today that there will be no harm to military readiness by ending the ban, according to a report in The Los Angeles Times.
With those actions it remains now for Obama to make his own certification to Congress in order to start a 60-day countdown to the lawâ€™s full repeal.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which was formed in 1993 to oppose Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell, said Thursday night that Panettaâ€™s certification is welcomed by gay and lesbian troops who have had to keep their sexual orientation a secret to serve.
â€œThe troops and their commanders are ready,â€ he said. â€œOur nationâ€™s top military leaders have testified that commanders see no significant challenges ahead.Â Â The official certification to Congress that the armed forces are prepared for the end of Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell should go to Capitol Hill tomorrow with the Presidentâ€™s signature.â€
What seems at this point rapid final certification by all parties should make moot a back-and-forth between the courts and the Justice Department over Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell.
After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal earlier this month lifted a stay on its own ruling ordering the Defense Department to stop enforcing Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell, the Justice Department announced it would request an emergency stay to keep the ban in place.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.military.com/news/article/panetta-to-certify-dadt-repeal-today.html
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