WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is putting a formal end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Saying he's always been confident that members of the military would take the policy change in stride, Obama today signed a notice to Congress certifying that military readiness will not be hurt by repealing the 17-year-old "don't ask don't tell" policy.

That means the ban will be lifted 60 days from now.

While the repeal has drawn strong opposition from some in Congress, the chiefs of the military services two weeks ago told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that ending the ban would not affect military readiness.

Advocacy groups that fought for the change are calling the repeal long-overdue. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese says it's a monumental step for "all American who believe in fairness and equality."

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