December 20th, 2010
11:43 AM ET

Repealing 'don't ask, don't tell': the next steps

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/15/gays.in.military/story.dadt.repeal.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is set to sign the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' this week." width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - Although Congress has now voted to repeal the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy, it will be at least a few months before the historic change takes effect.

President Barack Obama is likely to sign the repeal this week, setting the stage to allow gay people to serve openly in the armed forces. The Pentagon, however, has an 87-page implementation plan for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Over the next several weeks, military officials need to examine and rewrite a series of policies, regulations and directives related to the current law.

Once that potentially lengthy process is complete, Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen will each have to certify that the repeal can move ahead without negatively affecting unit cohesion and military readiness.

After the certification, another 60 days will need to pass before the repeal is officially enacted.

Even after the repeal, gay and lesbian servicemembers will not have every right and privilege accorded to heterosexual members of the military, largely because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Gay & Lesbian Issues
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