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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Will Take Time To Enact, Says Pentagon

Robert Gates

ANNE FLAHERTY   12/18/10 03:56 PM ET   AP

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reminding troops that "don't ask, don't tell" will remain military policy for at least a while longer, despite a historic Senate vote on Saturday to overturn it.

Under the bill approved by a Senate vote of 65-31, the president and Pentagon must first certify that lifting the ban won't hurt troops' ability to fight. After that, the military will undergo a 60-day wait period before any changes are made.

In a statement, Gates said he will begin the process immediately. But, he added, certification won't come until after "careful consultation" with the military service chiefs and combatant commanders.

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Filed by T.J. Ortenzi  |