Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to end President Bill Clinton's controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy. On Wednesday, President Obama made good on that promise.
Obama signed the law ending the policy that kept homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
"No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military regardless of their skills. No matter their bravery or their zeal. No matter their years of exemplary performance, because they happened to be gay," Obama said.
Obama and the Pentagon still have to certify to Congress that repealing the policy won't hurt military effectiveness. But Obama asserted there'll be no delay in getting the policy's implementation completed.
The president himself said he was "overwhelmed" by the moment. Gay activists and supporters packed the room, applauded and shouted in joy at the president, shedding any sense of a contained, formal event.
After the compromise to save the Bush-era tax cuts, this is the second big victory to come out of the lame-duck session for Obama, who just last month spoke about the shellacking he and his party took in the midterm elections.