Sep 20, 2011 10:16 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is marking the end of the ban on gays serving in the military. He says the armed forces will no longer lose the skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members.
At one minute past midnight EDT, a new law took effect repealing a 1993 law that allowed gays to serve only so long as they kept their sexual orientation private.
Obama says that as of today, "patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love." Obama also said that he wanted those who were discharged under the 1993 law to know that the U.S. deeply values their service.