Obama
Charles Dharapak  /  AP
President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 12.
updated 5/12/2009 4:25:01 PM ET 2009-05-12T20:25:01

The White House says it won't stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military while the Obama administration works to repeal a decade-old policy banning openly gay people from serving in uniform.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Barack Obama does not plan to intervene in current cases against men and women who announce their homosexuality.

Gibbs says the president wants to do away with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy through legislation.

Gibbs says the policy does not serve the national interest and that Obama is working with lawmakers for what Gibbs calls a "durable legislative solution." He says a repeal of the policy requires "more than the snapping of one's fingers."

Critics of the policy have called on Obama to stop the dismissals now.

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