Reports: Pentagon Will Certify An End To A Ban On Gays In Military
Several news organizations are reporting that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce the Pentagon is ready to allow gay men and women to serve openly in the military.
President Obama would then be allowed to formally end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, that's been in place for almost 18 years.
In accordance with a law passed in December that set in motion the process of ending the ban, Obama first must receive notice from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and top uniformed brass that the military is prepared to end the policy before the government stops enforcing it. The policy will end 60 days after Obama formally certifies the repeal in writing to Congress.
If Obama signs the certification in the coming days, the ban would end in late September.
The AP points out that the Pentagon's decision isn't unexpected:
The Pentagon has conducted months of internal studies and training to gauge how troops would react to the change triggered by a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December.
The Pentagon announcement is expected Friday, and Obama is expected to endorse it.
The Wall Street Journal reports that now the military has questions to answer. It has to figure out things like what benefits same-sex couples would receive and that could prove complex:
While the military will be free to provide some services to same-sex spouses, such as family support for spouses of deployed service members, federal law blocks it from providing them the full range of health, housing and education available to heterosexual couples.