Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said he would sign certification that the military is prepared to end the ban on openly gay military service if top officers agree.

Gates, who'll retire from his post on June 30, told the Associated Press that he doesn't foresee any impediments to repeal, and, if the top officers of each service agree, he's prepared to endorse certification.

“I think people are pretty satisfied with the way this process is going forward,” he said, referring to the military's training of more than a million U.S. troops. “I think people have been mildly and pleasantly surprised at the lack of pushback in the training.”

Gay rights groups, who have been pushing Pentagon officials for certification before Gates steps aside, praised the move.

“SLDN is pleased to see Secretary Gates clearly state that he is prepared to certify 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal before he leaves his post at the end of the month,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), said in a statement. “After nearly six months of preparation and training, we join the Secretary in expressing confidence that the military is, indeed, ready for open service. Hopefully, with the bulk of the training completed in all of the services, the service chiefs are rapidly approaching the point where they can officially recommend to the JCS Chairman Michael Mullen, Secretary Gates, and to the President that the time has come to make the long anticipated certification. The time to certify 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal is on Secretary Gates' watch.”

“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” ends 60 days after certification by top Pentagon officials and President Barack Obama.