President Obama signed the repeal into law today at the Interior Department. The military is now required to complete an existing plan to end anti-gay discrimination, while also demonstrating that the army's efficacy isn't damaged.
It's the result of a last-minute move by Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, to make good on a promise to end the policy by the end of this year. It nearly didn't happen, with Republicans blocking a defense authorization bill for weeks.
Part of the urgency was due to a lawsuit filed in San Francisco. Earlier this month, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a complaint in US District Court on behalf of three discharged veterans. Representatives for the group explained that their lawsuit was part of a strategy to keep pressure on lawmakers to act. If Congress didn't pass the DADT repeal, then repeal would have been forced by the courts, they said.
Local politicians and activists welcomed the news.
"As the son of a veteran, I know that patriotism and love of country should be the defining factors for military service, and not sexual orientation," said Senator Leland Yee. "The armed forces will now truly reflect our diversity and allow for the best to serve without arbitrarily preventing talented Americans from offering themselves to our nation."
Mario Guerrero, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Equality California Government Affairs Director, said, "We extend our gratitude to President Obama and the members of Congress who fought for the passage of this bill. Now it is critical that Congress continues to champion the repeal of another piece of legislation that requires the federal government to discriminate against LGBT Americans – the Defense of Marriage Act. We also call on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to bring us closer to our nation’s promise of equally for all."
Although today's repeal is good news, there's still more progress to be made. Transgender Americans are still prohibited from serving. Other developed nations have allowed transgender soldiers to service without any significant problems.