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Appeals Court Issues Stay on ‘Don’t Ask’ Order

By Donna Miles and Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2010 – The Defense Department supports yesterday’s federal appeals court decision to temporarily block a judge’s order that put an immediate end to the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

“For the reasons stated in the government's submission, we believe a stay is appropriate,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

The three-judge panel yesterday issued a statement which noted that it allowed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law to stand to provide more time to study the issues involved in its possible repeal. The court set an Oct. 25 deadline for both sides to submit legal documents for consideration.

The higher-court decision temporarily suspends U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips’ Oct. 12 ruling that the law is unconstitutional. Phillips issued an injunction requiring the department “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.”

In its appeal, the Justice Department asked that the law be reinstated, at least until a study of the impact of repealing it is completed.

The Defense Department wants a deliberative, long-range look at any changes in the law, Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. David Lapan reiterated earlier this week. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates set up a working group to examine the ramifications of a possible repeal of the law. The group is scheduled to submit its report Dec. 1.

“The review that is going on would look at all the far-ranging impacts of what changing the law would mean,” Lapan said.

A long-range plan for changing the law would include a period of transition to conduct training to ensure that everyone was informed about new policies and procedures, he said.

In response to Phillips’ ruling, Pentagon officials had instructed recruiters to begin processing paperwork for openly gay men or lesbians to apply to serve in the military. But citing uncertainty over final disposition of the matter in the courts and on Capitol Hill, Smith warned at the time that potential applicants needed to be aware that the situation could change, as it has with yesterday’s appellate court decision.

 

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Comments

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

10/25/2010 12:48:53 PM
Repealing the Don't Ask don't tell policy will be a massive failure, and more discrimination than what you are saying would take place. 1. People would not feel comfortable changing, showering, etc in the same room as a person who is openly gay and looks at them with lust. Thus, Gays would be excluded from the general rooms, and would be forced to live amongst themselves and not in the same room as their same sex. Military personal would taunt people in this room and category, maybe even resort to violence against them. The Don't Ask don't tell policy protects homosexuals serving from this type of discrimination, and they would only be required to hide their orientation while in service.
- Kevin, San Diego

10/22/2010 12:52:08 PM
if you are gay or lesbian in the military you are serving honorably, how ever you are breaking the rules, The moment you volunteer to serve in the military you have to live by the UCMJ and if you break the rules you have paid as well , there is no get out jail free card in the military.
- lara, NYC

10/22/2010 3:34:31 AM
I find it funny that everyone is concerned about gays in the military sharing the same quarters and facilities as non gays. But the militaries biggest fear is the opposet sex sharing the same facilities. Everytime a Unit goes to the field we have to set up seperate facilites inorder to accomodate the opposet sex. I think the military should be protrayed just like it is in Starship Troopers.
- Ken Heise, kuwait

10/21/2010 9:52:56 PM
The is a reason why the policy of Don't ask Don't tell was implemented, no one said they are not brave men and women but they are breaking the rules
- lara, NYC

10/21/2010 2:53:17 PM
Gay men and lesbian women have always served our country honorably. For them not to be allowed to serve our country openly is discrimination. This is all fear and judgement based. Gays and lesbians know how to serve appropriately just like straight soldiers do. Those who have fear of sleeping in the same room or showering in the same shower need to grow up and get over their homophobia. They are all brave men and women with their first priority to defend our country. Prejudice against gays and lesbians should not be tolerated.
- Male Couple, Oregon, USA

10/21/2010 11:28:00 AM
"DON'T ASK DON'T TELL"-"LISTEN"-Your personal life is your business."Always practice safe sex"-What truly matters is what is in your heart,good or bad!-Racism and discrimination exist.You have to understand alot of people are homophobic especiallyt the young,which can cause life and death situations especially at a time of war.Now is not the time for this issue."Your personal life is your business!" Joseph Cimino P.S-Please relay this message.
- Joseph Cimino, N.Y

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