Court temporarily reinstates "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

LOS ANGELES Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:19pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal appeals court has reversed itself and temporarily reinstated the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military, but it has blocked the Pentagon from significant enforcement of the policy.

In an order issued late on Friday, a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a request by President Barack Obama's administration to temporarily reinstate the policy against allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

The government has said it needs more time to prepare for an end to the controversial policy.

Obama signed legislation in December to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but the bill gave the Pentagon an unlimited time frame to implement the change, leading up to a final "certification" of the repeal.

In the meantime, a separate challenge to the policy had advanced in the federal court system, where last week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court panel upheld a lower-court decision declaring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional and ordered the military to immediately lift the ban.

In their latest ruling, the judges said that, based on information provided by government lawyers, senior military officials have made plans to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and that certification will be presented to Obama by the end of July or in early August.

The judges' three-page order also states that only one military service member has been discharged for being openly gay since the passage of the repeal act in December.

The judges stated that "in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented in light of these previously undisclosed facts" it was temporarily reinstating the policy.

But the order also blocks the military "from investigating, penalizing or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy."

The policy dates from 1993, when then-President Bill Clinton signed the directive into law as a compromise with the military to end an outright ban on gay service members that had been in force for decades.

More than 13,000 men and women have been expelled from the military under the policy since it was instituted by Clinton.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (10)
LTN70 wrote:
So the court temporarily reinstates the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy but says you can’t enforce it by blocking the military “from investigating, penalizing or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” Seems to me the court hasn’t done much from its original stance of preventing the policy from being enforced. Democratic doubletalk.

Jul 16, 2011 2:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
spamilio wrote:
My husband was in the Marine Corp, and he thinks it’s a bad idea. Everyone in his squadron was very masculine, and he just didn’t think it would be a good environment for homosexuals. He says there’s a big difference between people hiding it, and being given the go ahead to be openly gay; openly gay means they could hit on the men around them, and he does not think that would go over well at all. He also said the reason women aren’t currently allowed in combat is because the primary focus needs to be accomplishing the assigned goals; if there were ever any romantic entanglements then some might place a higher priority on protecting one life than on accomplishing the goals of the group. If there are homosexual relationships, this could undermine those goals.

From my perspective, I can’t imagine electing to go into a career where I was told I would have to shower with men. I can’t see a distinction for straight men being told they have to shower with gay men. I also think, quite simply, that the military has a very specific function, to protect the citizens of this country. They have always had higher standards of conduct. It’s not the place to be forcing perceived civil justice in the name of equality.

Jul 16, 2011 3:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SavageNation wrote:
Everyone should be welcome, but when sexual behavior becomes someone’s sole identity there’s something wrong.
If a straight employee of a private company, or even government kept making their sexuality public, they and the company could be sued for sex harrasment and creating a hostile workplace, so what’s the diff?
DADT is really just enforcing existing laws.

Jul 16, 2011 3:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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