Gates advised troops the repeal of the law prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly will remain in effect until 60 days after the government certifies the armed forces are ready for the implementation of the new policy that accepts gays, CNN reported Thursday.
"In order to prevent any confusion, I want to be perfectly clear: at this time, there are no new changes to any existing Department or Service policies. Service members who alter their personal conduct during this period may face adverse consequences," said Gates.
The Pentagon said it's not clear how long the certification process will take.
The law requires the president, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to certify that the repeal can proceed without negatively military readiness and unit cohesion, CNN reported.
There will be no housing or special bathroom facilities to for gays, except in special cases, and troops who object to serving with homosexuals will not be permitted to quit the military prior to the end of their commitment.