Obama, Panetta, Mullen to meet on gays in military

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans a Friday afternoon meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, to discuss ending the 17-year ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Panetta is expected before that meeting to certify that repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would not jeopardize the military’s ability to fight.

Obama is expected to certify the change, though it’s not clear whether that would happen Friday.

Repeal would take effect 60 days after Obama’s certification, or by the end of September. Repealing the ban would fulfill a 2008 campaign promise to repeal the ban.