Update at 9:58 a.m. ET: Saying that the action will strengthen the nation and end a practice that forced some members ofthe military to lie about themselves, President Obama this hour signed legislation that repeals the "don't ask, don't tell" law that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military.
Weupdated this post with news from the ceremony, which was held at the U.S. Department of Interior to hold a large crowd. Read through to see how the event unfolded (or scroll down and "read up" if youwant to see things in chronological order).
Update at 9:37 a.m. ET: Surrounded by lawmakers and supporters, the president just finished signing the repeal.
Update at 9:35 a.m. ET: "We are not anation that says 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Obama declares. "We are a nation that says 'out of many, we are one.' "
He's now sitting down to sign the legislation.
Update at 9:33 a.m. ET: The presidentencourages those who have been discharged from the military because of don't ask, don't tell to re-enlist.
Update at 9:30 a.m. ET: Obama retells an anecdote that's gotten lots of attention in recentdays. A member of the Special Forces told Pentagon officials that he's been on duty with a gay soldier. "He's big, he's mean, he kills lots of bad guys. ... No one cares that he's gay," Obama quotesthe Special Forces soldier as saying about his comrade.
"That sums up the situation perfectly," the president says.
Update at 9:28 a.m. ET: The president notes that repeal doesn't take effect untilhe and his top aides "certify the military's readiness."
"But we're not going to be dragging our feet," he adds.
Update at 9:24 a.m. ET: Even bigger cheers for Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-PA, an Iraq Warveteran and one of the lawmakers who worked for repeal.
Update at 9:23 a.m. ET: Big cheers for outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, when the president thanks her for her work on the repeal....