U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation that will allow openly homosexual people to serve in the military, calling the measure a historic milestone.
At the signing ceremony in Washington Wednesday, Mr. Obama said the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will strengthen national security and uphold the ideals that men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend.
He said gay Americans have fought just as hard over many generations and gave just as much to protect the nation.
Congress approved the bill last week.
Military leaders say the new policy will be implemented gradually, so current regulations can be reviewed and revised.
Under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, members of the military were compelled to keep their sexual orientation secret or face dismissal.