Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday that the Pentagon will start to ease its enforcement of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
Among other things, Gates said the Pentagon is raising the threshold for what constitutes an appropriate level of information necessary to launch a "credible inquiry" into allegations of homosexual behavior.
The change is reflection of "common sense" and "common decency," Gates said.
President Barack Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support a legislative repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," which was first enacted in 1993. Some senior members of the military, however, have expressed concern over the impact of the ban's repeal on unit cohesion and morale, among other things.
- CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.