This morning, President Obama signed into law the bill that will allow for the repeal of the military's 17-year-old ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly. The road to actual repeal is still far from over, but the process has now officially made it past what was expected to be the hardest part.
The Center for American Progress does an excellent job of laying out what the rest of the repeal process will look like here:
Over the next few months, the Pentagon must develop a plan for implementing repeal, our military leaders must certify that plan, and only then can the Pentagon implement repeal. All indications point to a smooth and swift implementation, but opponents continue to protest that this will not be the case. Let’s first review what the implementation process will look like before addressing opponents’ concerns.
The president, secretary of defense, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must then certify that these new policies and regulations are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. They will carefully consult with the military service chiefs and combatant commanders in making these certifications. Congress then has 60 days to review the certification and the Pentagon’s recommendations for repeal. The Pentagon will then begin implementing repeal throughout the military.
In an exclusive interview with The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld, President Obama indicated that this process could be completed in early 2011.
I spoke to Admiral Mullen today. He said he’s taking the implementation manual that was a companion to the attitudinal survey off to vacation with him. He is prepared to implement. I spoke to other of the service chiefs, including, for example, General Amos. We saw that in the attitudinal surveys there was the most resistance in the Marine Corps. But Jim Amos said to me that he’s ready to implement and he’s going to make it work.
So my strong sense is this is a matter of months…
Absolutely not years—and that we will get this done in a timely fashion, and the chiefs are confident that it will get done in a timely fashion. They understand this is not something that they’re going to be slow-walking.
In the meantime, the media's job is not over. (See here and here for our thoughts on how the media has handled the story since this weekend.) The media has a responsibility to show the American people that the anti-gay activists who fought tooth and nail against repealing this discriminatory law were giving them nothing but hurtful rhetoric and empty assertions.
The sky will not fall - and the American people will remember that when these anti-gay voices speak out about other issues that affect our community. There is a crucial lesson to be learned here, and it's the media's responsibility to deliver it. We'll be watching to make sure they do.