WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama signed legislation repealing the controversial Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that allowed homosexuals to serve in the U.S. military as long as they kept their sexuality a secret.
“No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder,” Obama said during the signing ceremony.
The repeal will not take effect until 60 days after Obama, the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certify readiness.
New Jersey state Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) applauded the members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation who voted for the repeal.
“The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ is a testament not only to evolving social views, but also is a fitting eulogy for the men and women who lost their lives on the battlefield without ever being able to be true to who they are,” said Lesniak, who sponsored a bill to recognize gay marriage during the last Legislative session.
“Today, an historic wrong was finally made right,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United. “Today, the long and painful struggle of one million LGBT veterans was finally vindicated. Today, sixty-six thousand gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans currently serving in uniform will sleep easier knowing that the odious ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law is a thing of the past.”
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