A gay service member marrying will no longer be grounds for discharge after “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is repealed, but federal law will keep the military from recognizing the marriage, officials said on Friday.

Congress repealed the law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly during last month's lame-duck session of Congress, but the policy won't be officially lifted until President Obama and top Pentagon officials certify that the military is ready for the change.

Training that stresses professionalism and respect will begin as early as next month, Clifford Stanley, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news conference.

The men also confirmed that little will change in terms of policy or procedure to accommodate open gay service. But they remained vague on a timeline for certification.

Ending the ban by the end of the year was only a “goal,” they said.

“There's nothing that tells us that it's not reachable, but we have to allow for the fact that we may discover something between now and then,” Cartwright said.

Questions on how much training is needed to reach certification also went unanswered.

“All right,” Cartwright said. “I mean, I – as I said, I believe it's a subjective judgment based on what we have seen as we go through the training.”

There will be no separate housing or bathing facilities built for openly gay troops, and service members previously separated under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” will be allowed to reapply for service.

Officials added that after repeal of the policy the military will remain barred from recognizing the legal marriages of gay service members.

“Right now, no changes are expected in policy with respect to housing, those – that kind of benefit. In fact, a lot of benefit changes aren't changing. We're also required by law to – you know, to abide by the – basically, the scripture of DOMA, you know, Defense of Marriage Act. So regardless as to what's happening in different states, we haven't changed that,” Stanley said.

Under the Obama administration, the federal government has implemented changes elsewhere, including the State Department, where spouses of gay diplomats are recognized.

Officials also stressed that “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” remains in effect until 60 days after certification.

“We are obligated to follow that law, and to say anything other than that at this time would be inappropriate,” Stanley said.