[Photo: President Barack Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office on Dec. 18 before the final Senate vote repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)]
Today at the White House briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Barack Obama "likely" will sign the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill into law on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 22. No official guidance has been given by the White House to the media about the event at this point.
[UPDATE @ 7:20 PM: The White House has announced, "On Wednesday, December 22, 2010, President Obama will sign the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law in a signing ceremony at the Department of the Interior." Per the news advisory, the ceremony is to take place at 9:15 a.m.]
Meanwhile, Gibbs also said that the Departments of Defense and Justice are preparing implementation plans. Those plans must be completed, under the repeal bill's requirements, before the president, Defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will certify that the changes needed to implement repeal are "consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces."
Even then, though, a 60-day congressional review period must pass before 10 U.S.C 654 -- the DADT law -- will be off the books.
As such, Wednesday's likely signing will be a victory for equality, but not even an end to that battle, which is -- of course -- only one of many on the path to full equality in law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
[UPDATE @ 5:30 PM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office confirmed the enrollment cermony for the DADT repeal bill will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, in the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium. According to the advisory, "Pelosi, House and Senate Democrats will join with servicemembers ... to sign legislation repealing" DADT.
As the release notes, enrollment is the last step before the bill goes to the president for his signature.]