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Panetta salutes gays in military

In advance of a Pentagon salute to gay service members, Panetta thanks gays for their service By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is thanking gay military members for their service, as the Pentagon prepares to mark June as gay pride month with an official salute.

In a video message to the troops Friday, Panetta says that with the repeal last year of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military, gays and lesbians can now be proud to be in uniform.

Panetta also says he's committed to removing as many barriers as possible to making the military a model of equal opportunity.

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