WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama administration is on the brink of officially repealing the military’s ban on open homosexuality.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce Friday afternoon that he has certified the change will not affect military readiness, according to Pentagon officials. Panetta and Navy Admiral Mike Mullen will be meeting with President Obama at 2:45 p.m. Friday in the Oval Office, after which the announcement could take place. Once certified by Panetta and President Obama, the ban would be expected to end in another 60 days.

Congress in December passed a preemptive repeal of DADT, which depended upon assurance from the Pentagon that the repeal would not disrupt military readiness.

While administration officials claimed that a report released in November of last year proved that the repeal would be harmless, that claim has been the subject of fierce opposition from conservative groups, who note that the results from the study show an overwhelming skepticism about the repeal by ground troops. When the response of on-the-ground troops are considered apart from other military employees, the results show a far stronger opposition to repeal.

In addition, a leaked April 2011 document from the Defense Department Inspector General revealed evidence that sources within the Defense Department had leaked drastically skewed data to media outlets in order to influence Congress towards a repeal. A Defense Department spokesperson confirmed to LifeSiteNews.com the authenticity of a slightly redacted version of the document.

The ban also came under attack from a federal court this month; a panel of the court ordered the military to repeal Don’t Ask as an infringement of U.S. troops’ First Amendment rights. However, after the U.S. Justice Department appealed that decision, the court agreed to allow the federal government to resume enforcement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy temporarily - but with a provision that blocked the military from proceedings resulting in the discharge of open homosexuals already in the ranks

Referring to DADT, an Associated Press video report Friday erroneously stated that “it’s been seventeen years since the military banned openly gay service.” The first recorded enforcement of a ban on homosexuality in the U.S. military was actually in 1778 under General George Washington, and the first explicit prohibition appeared in the 1916 Articles of War.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was implemented by Congress in 1993 after an unsuccessful attempt by President Bill Clinton to remove the homosexuality ban.