Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama brought the long political struggle over the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy to a close Wednesday, signing legislation that will bring an end of the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the armed forces.
The president signed the bill repealing the 17-year ban in front an jubilant crowd of supporters at the Department of Interior. Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, were among those in attendance.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen was also present for the occasion.
The repeal "will strengthen our national security and uphold (America's) ideals," Obama said. "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie."
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