Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said
on Thursday that the military will end its ban on gay and bisexual
troops serving openly this year.
The military is expected on Friday to
unveil its plan on how it will proceed on implementing repeal of
“Don't Tell, Don't Tell.”
Congress agreed to end the law during
last month's lame-duck session, but implementation won't happen until
top Pentagon officials and President Obama certify that the military
is ready for the change.
During Tuesday's State of the Union
told Congress and the nation that the ban would be lifted this year.
“Starting this year, no American will
be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they
love,” Obama said.
Gates agreed, saying, “Yeah, I think
we can – we can do that.”
“We don't know how long it'll take to
train the entire force, but I'm certain we can get it done this year,
and we're shooting to get it done sooner rather than later,” Gates
told reporters aboard his plane en route to Ottawa.
Gay service groups have called on the
president to quicken the pace of implementation.
After the president's address, Aubrey
Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN), the largest group which lobbied for repeal of the law, urged
Obama to end the policy in the first quarter of 2011.