President Barack Obama on Wednesday
said he believes “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” repeal certification is
weeks, not months, away.
Congress approved and Obama signed into
law repeal of the law last December. The policy, enacted in 1993,
forbids gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.
Top Pentagon officials, including
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the president must certify that
the military is prepared to end the ban before it's lifted.
On Thursday, Gates, who had said he's
prepared to endorse certification in June, retired from his post
leaving the task for his successor, Leon Panetta. Gay rights groups
lobbying for repeal of the law had called for certification before
Gates' 4-year term ended.
Twenty-three GOP lawmakers led by
Representative Duncan Hunter last month wrote to the president asking
him to delay implementation of repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
At the White House's annual Gay Pride
reception, Obama quietly told Chris Geidner, a reporter for gay
weekly Metro Weekly, that certification is around the corner.
“At #LGBT Pride reception, Obama says
'in a matter of weeks, not months,' expects to sign #DADT repeal
certification,” Geidner tweeted.
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” ends 60
days after certification.