Joining a club of countries like Canada, Germany, Israel and the UK, the United States Tuesday becomes the 30th country to allow gays and lesbian to serve openly in its military.
The don't ask, don't tell policy, which replaced an outright ban in 1993, officially expires Sept. 20 after being repealed last December.
As the ban is lifted, the Defense Department is now due to issue revised regulations that will reflect the new law allowing gays to serve openly. The revisions are along the lines of policy guidance that top Pentagon officials issued in January, after President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law.
This is something that has been known for a long time, Reuters quoted Pentagon spokesman George Little as saying. We've gone through a process to certify repeal. He added that 97 percent of military personnel had received training associated with the law's repeal.
Under a law passed was in 1993 and signed by then-President Bill Clinton, it was legal policy that homosexuality is incompatible with military service and that persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were to be discharged.
Since then, more than 13,000 people have been forced out from the armed services for revealing their sexual orientation. According to unofficial statistics, the number of discharges per fiscal year under DADT dropped sharply after the 9/11 attacks and has remained comparatively low since. Until 2009, discharges exceeded 600 every year.
Just three months before Congress passed the repeal, the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay political group, won a court decision striking down the rule. According to the court, the law violated the constitutional free-speech and due-process rights of homosexuals in the armed forces.
Twitter is erupted with comments as the law reached its end.
and just like that, don't ask, don't tell ends. years too late for some friends, but still. glad to see it, Arthur Gies tweeted.
Another tweet from Michael Hinman pointed toward those unfortunate soldiers who got discharged over their sexual orientation.
Don't Ask Don't Tell is officially dead. Please take a minute to remember the 14,000 men and women wrongfully discharged, Hinman tweeted.
Another Twitter user wrote, Today marks the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Congratulations, USA, for doing what most of Europe did 11 years ago.
In a bid to celebrate the repeal, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is holding 100 Repeal Day Celebrations across the country on Tuesday.