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Injunction Stands During ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Appeal

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2010 – The Defense Department will abide by the injunction issued by a California judge on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while the Justice Department appeals the decision, DOD officials said here today.

In a memorandum to service secretaries, Clifford L. Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said the department “will abide by the terms of the injunction.”

Judge Virginia Phillips issued the injunction Oct. 12. It grew from her Sept. 9 decision that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is unconstitutional, violating the 1st and 5th amendments.

Her injunction ordered the government, “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation or other proceeding that may have commenced under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Act or its implementing regulations.”

The injunction and appeal have caused uncertainty for servicemembers about the law, Stanley wrote. “We note for servicemembers that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court’s decision be reversed,” the undersecretary said.

The department wants any changes to the law to be studied, Stanley said. Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the department’s general counsel, are co-chairing a working group that is studying the implications of changes in the law.

The working group has surveyed hundreds of thousands of servicemembers and their families for their opinions on how to best move forward. It is to present its report to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Dec. 1.

“Requiring the department to cease all enforcement of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ immediately and worldwide, will cause significant disruptions to the force in the short term and, in the long term, would likely undermine the effectiveness of any transition to accepting open service by gays and lesbians in the event the law is repealed or eliminated,” Stanley said in a deposition filed with the court yesterday.

The department will need to educate and train the force on any changes to the law, and will need to revise dozens of instructions, regulations and policies, Stanley said. With tens of thousands of servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan, this training cannot be provided instantaneously, he said.

“The secretary of defense specifically cited the need to avoid interfering with combat operations when charging the working group with developing a plan for implementing repeal of the [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] policy; the same concern applies to the judicial invalidation of the statute,” Stanley said.

Invalidating the law will require changes in a number of areas including housing, benefits, re-accession, military equal opportunity, anti-harassment, standards of conduct, rights and obligations of the chaplain corps and others.

“Amending these regulations would typically take several months,” Stanly said in the deposition. “To change all the implicated policies and underlying regulations will require a massive undertaking by the department and cannot be done overnight.”

 

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Department Abides by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Injunction


Comments

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

10/15/2010 8:54:29 PM
"YOUR PERSONAL LIFE IS YOUR BUSINESS"-Please leave it at that to keep the peace.Always practice "SAFE SEX"What truly matters is what is in your heart good or bad.
- Joseph Cimino, N.Y

10/15/2010 7:14:20 PM
To be honest, I expected the DoD to give momentary pause to consider its options after the injunction was issued, but I was honestly shocked to see how quickly the DoD "rolled over and played dead" on this matter. Was no serious thought given to commanders and their units who must now deal with and accommodate homosexual personnel stuck in legal limbo due to soft-gloves compliance with this injunction? Furthermore, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have already proclaimed their unequivocal support for a repeal of DADT, so tossing the line of "we're only following the judge's orders" smacks of weak spine syndrome. To our leadership, I say we all deserve better than this. Let's stick to our guns by defending current LAW and POLICY while Congress sorts this out since it's their problem alone and does not belong to a rogue judge's opinion--no matter what anyone else thinks.
- Joe, Texas

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