Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the contributions of gay troops by marking June as Gay Pride Month.

The AP is reporting that the Pentagon is preparing to hold its first ever Gay Pride celebration later this month.

“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the policy which banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly ended nine months ago. Nearly 14,000 service members were drummed out of the military for violating the policy.

“Now that we've repealed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' he feels it's important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman, told the AP.

Officials have said repeal of the 18-year-old law has gone smoothly.

“I don't think it's just moving along smoothy, I think it's accelerating faster than we even thought the military would as far as progress goes,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a finance officer and co-director of OutServe, a professional association for gay troops.

(Related: First openly gay military graduates say they find acceptance.)