US President Barack Obama [official website] on Friday certified [text, PDF] the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive], the controversial policy barring openly gay individuals from serving in the military. The repeal was also certified by newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Leon Panetta [official profile] and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and delivered to Congress. Panetta [statement] called the change "essential to the effectiveness of our all-volunteer force." Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen [statement] said that he "believe[s] the U.S. armed forces are ready for the implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Obama [statement] praised the repeal:
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. ... 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. Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.The repeal will take effect in 60 days.
Obama signed [JURIST report] the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 [HR 2965 materials] into law in December, shortly after it was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives [JURIST reports]. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ordered DADT to remain partially in place [JURIST report] in order for the court to fully consider the issues concerning the policy's complete repeal. The Ninth Circuit had previously ordered a halt to the policy's enforcement, prompting the Obama administration to ask the court to reinstate the policy [JURIST reports] until the repeal process was complete.