THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
President Barack Obama says valor and sacrifice in the armed forces are no longer defined by sexual orientation.
Obama spoke Wednesday morning at the Interior Department as he prepared to sign a landmark law ordering America's armed services to let homosexuals serve openly for the first time. Surrounded by senior military officials and members of Congress, Obama said he is proud to sign the bill, which he says will strengthen national security.
The change won't be immediate, however. The bill requires the military service chiefs to complete implementation plans before lifting the old "don't ask, don't tell" policy _ and certify to lawmakers that it won't damage combat readiness, as critics charge.