ByÂ Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times
The United States formally ends a decades-old ban on open gays in the ranks on Tuesday, a historic day that the military services hope will pass as routinely as roll calls, marching and lights-out.
TheÂ Pentagon, after putting all active-duty and reserve troops through months of mandatory indoctrination, generally is playing down the event and has announced no special plans for the repeal of a policy known as â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tell.â€
â€œWe will actually be overseas attending a conference in Europe,â€ she added.
A spokesman for Defense SecretaryÂ Leon E. Panetta did not respond to a question about whether the secretary planned to make any special remarks.
TheÂ Pentagon will send new written policies and regulations Tuesday to augment the months of slide-show training.
â€œThe training focused on the changes in policy affected by the repeal â€¦ and the expectations that service members continue to treat each other with dignity and respect,â€ said spokeswomanEileen Lainez.
Gay-rights activists, basking in one of their greatest political victories, also sought not to make Sept. 20 an in-your-face day of celebration for the demise of the policy imposed by PresidentÂ Clinton in 1993.
â€œAbsolutely nothing new will occur on the 20th. Military members are likely to remember the 20th as the day the season premiere of â€˜Gleeâ€™ is on rather than the day DADT died,â€ he added, referring to the policyâ€™s initials.
â€œGleeâ€ is a Fox TV prime-time series centered on a high school glee club and gay issues.
Mr. Smith foundedÂ Outserve, an underground group of gay military personnel and a magazine by the same name. He has won the right to distributeÂ Outserve atÂ Army and Navy exchanges. He plans to declare his homosexuality openly with a book next month titled â€œOur Time.â€
â€œBeing gay in the military is a non-issue, so I will come forward on Sept. 20th,â€ he said. â€œThe cover will change to my real name as well on that day.â€
At theÂ Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that led the fight in Washington for repeal of the policy, the message to gays is: Itâ€™s your choice.
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