The U.S. military is prepared to accept servicemembers who are openly gay and lesbians as President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen have certified that such a move won't harm military readiness.

Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality, Obama said in a statement.

In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met, he said.

Pentagon officials have said on Friday they will tell Congress that the ban on gays and lesbians serving the military can be lifted because it won't harm the military's readiness.

Congress passed a law last year that would make the repeal of the 1993 Don't Ask, Don't Tell law go into effect 60 days after it has been certified that there be no harm in military readiness.

Obama said the controversial ban will end, once and for all on Sept. 20.

As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness, Obama added. Today's action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

Panetta took command this month.

On July 6, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that the military no longer enforce the ban, ending military discharges under the policy and barred recruiters from turning away openly gay recruits.

But when the nearly 20 year-old policy formally takes effect, the military will still need to address certain issues regarding benefits for those serving openly.

The Wall Street Journals reported that the military will be free to offer some services to same-sex spouses. This includes family support for spouses of deployed service members. However, federal law doesn't allow the military to provide the full range of health, housing and education benefits available to opposite-sex couples, according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Read Obama's statement below:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 22, 2011

Statement by the President on Certification of Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell

Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality. In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will end, once and for all, in 60 days-on September 20, 2011.

As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness. Today's action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war. I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition. Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans.