End of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' Near

Activists gather in DC to push President Barack Obama's administration and the U.S. Congress to live up to promises to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to advance civil rights. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images)

Newly appointed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending to President Obama that he repeals for the last time the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Panetta said he now can certify that changing the policy will not negatively affect the military. Congress had previously ordered enforcement of the ban to cease 60 days after certification, which means the ban should officially end in September. Panetta met recently with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines about lifting the ban, officials said, and the military has been training its forces for the end of the policy.