Finally, the long political struggle over the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy came to a close on Wednesday.

President Obama signed the legislation that will bring an end of the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the armed forces.

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."

"I believe this is the right thing to do for our military," he added. "It's the right thing to do, period."