President Obama signed a landmark repeal of the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the armed services Wednesday, fulfilling a key campaign promise.
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.
Here’s an excerpt of the president’s remarks and his signing of the bill: