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San Diego's gay and lesbian community will gather to celebrate end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Members of San Diego's gay and lesbian community will gather Tuesday night at the San Diego LGBT Community Center to celebrate the expiration of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Obama administration officials in July announced the end of the 17-year-old policy, which kept openly gay people from serving in the armed forces.

Ari Waldman, a professor at the California Western School of Law, estimated that 11,000 to 13,000 people were discharged for being gay since 1993.

He said he does not see the end of the ban on service by homosexuals as likely to create huge problems for service members since they've been working with their gay colleagues for years.

Waldman said he has spoken to a number of people discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" who would like to return to the armed forces.

In July, a couple of hundred gay and lesbian military members and veterans marched in San Diego's annual Pride Parade. The active-duty personnel were the first to appear at such an event.

"Today, the discriminatory law known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is finally and formally repealed," President Barack Obama said in a statement this morning. "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."

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