Top Pentagon officials will announce tomorrow their decision to certify lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, two defense officials said. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are ready to certify that the armed forces are fully prepared for the change and that it won’t harm military readiness, said the officials who weren’t authorized to discuss the decision before the announcement. President Barack Obama signed legislation into law in December that would repeal the prohibition, called “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” 60 days after the Defense Department drafts a plan for putting the new regulations in place and Obama and Pentagon officials certify that the shift wouldn’t harm recruitment, retention or readiness. Obama is scheduled to meet with Panetta and Mullen tomorrow afternoon.
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Gay rights activists briefly handcuffed themselves to the White House’s north gate on Monday, urging President Barack Obama to repeal a ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military.
Thirteen demonstrators organized by the GetEQUAL campaign for gay rights — including nine veterans, a Catholic priest and other advocates &mdash were arrested after shouting they were “proud to serve” and vowing: “We will not disappear.”
“Today, we have sent a loud and clear message to the US Senate and President Obama that we expect them to make good on their promises to end this inhumane law this year, during the lame-duck session of Congress,” GetEQUAL co-founder and director Robin McGehee said in a statement.
She was among those arrested.
The protest came ahead of the Pentagon’s Internal Review into the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, due on December 1.
According to The Washington Post, the long-awaited report, which included a survey of troops, found that the United States could lift the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces with little risk to current war efforts.