The Washington Post is reporting:
President Obama will call for a repeal of the law that forbids openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military during Wednesday night’s State of the Union address, according to a prepared text of the speech released by the White House.
“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” Obama will say.
A report released Tuesday estimated that 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are serving in the U.S. military, roughly 2 percent of all military personnel.
Addendum. The immediate reaction at NYT’s Caucus Blog,
Gays in the Military | 10:16 p.m. The president also renewed his call to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He placed a timeframe on it, but it was not exactly clear whether the process would begin or end in 2010. “This year,” he said, “I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”
The pledge came towards the end of the speech in this litany on equal opportunity [link to advance copy]:
We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.
We must continually renew this promise. My Administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws – so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work. And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations.