Appeals court allows Pentagon to keep enforcing ‘don’t ask’ — for now
A federal appeals court has granted — at least temporarily — the Obama administration’s request that the military’s “dont ask, don’t tell” policy continue to be enforced, says a report at MetroWeekly.
The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted a temporary stay against a federal judge’s order earlier this month that the Pentagon stop enforcing its ban on gays serving openly in the military.
But, according to Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly, the stay is a temporary one that will last until Oct. 25. At some point after that date, the court will decide whether to extend the stay until it has heard the federal government’s full appeal against the ruling earlier this month.
US District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled in September that the military’s 17-year-old policy infringes on the constitutional free-speech and due-process rights of gay men and women in uniform.
She put that opinion into effect on October 12 with a blanket injunction requiring the military to stop enforcing the ban and halt pending investigations and discharges stemming from it.
On Monday, Phillips denied the administration’s request to set aside her injunction, and permit the Pentagon to keep the ban in effect, while the appeals process runs its course.
The Defense Department said on Tuesday it has directed its recruiters for the first time to start accepting applications from enlistees who acknowledge they are gay.
Still, the Pentagon has warned that gay service members who reveal their sexual orientation in the midst of the continued legal wrangling run the risk of facing expulsion later if Phillips’ ruling were reversed.
President Barack Obama has insisted he stands by his 2008 campaign pledge to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but his administration had urged the judge to allow more time for a political remedy to the issue rather than a court-imposed one.
The Pentagon also has argued that an abrupt change in the ban on openly gay men and women in the armed forces, enacted into law under President Bill Clinton, would hamper the military.
— With a report from Reuters