A federal appeals court granted the Department of Justice’s request to continue the military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy late Friday night.
In a three-page decision, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the government has provided new information, and the court was upholding the a previous ruling keeping DADT in place “in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented in the light of these previously undisclosed facts.”
The Department of Justice did not elaborate on these “undisclosed facts,” only releasing a statement saying that it asked the court to reconsider its order “to avoid short-circuiting the repeal process established by Congress during the final stages of the implementation of the repeal.”
The Log Cabin Republicans, who brought the original suit against the Department of Justice regarding DADT, were not happy about this motion, saying “an on-again, off-again status of the District Court’s injunction benefits no-one and plays havoc with the constitutional rights of American service members.”
Servicemembers United, an organization of LGBT troops and veterans, are also frustrated over the ridiculousness of the DADT repeal process. “The situation with finally ending this outdated and discriminatory federal policy has become absolutely ridiculous,” said the group’s executive director Alexander Nicholson. “It is simply not right to put the men and women of our armed forces through this circus any longer.”
The Court had halted the enforcement of DADT in a July 6 ruling, but has since changed its tone. It now believes that military readiness would be severely affected with an early halt to the policy, and wants to ensure that the policy is repealed in accordance with the process set into motion by Obama’s December signature of the repeal.
The military has 60 days to implement the repeal once the chiefs of military services have submitted their recommendations. And as each of the chiefs submitted their reports to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week, the Pentagon should be certifying that repealing the ban will not affect military readiness. The ban could be officially repealed by September.
In the meantime, the Justice Department said “it remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline.”
According to certain service members, such as Lt. Col. Paul Hackett of the Marine Corps Reserve, DADT is already a goner. “We’re already taking steps to implement it,” he said. “Politicians do what politicians do for whatever their political need is. It’s an election year, so somebody is obviously taken that into consideration. I suspect that’s what driving this.”
Thankfully, despite the added delay dismantling the discriminatory policy, the court has prevented any investigations or discharges under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.