Federal appeals court orders immediate lift on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy
July 6, 2011 | 2:14 pm
(Updated: July 6, 2011 | 5:36 pm)
SAN FRANCISCO, California — A federal appeals court has barred further enforcement of the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Wednesday the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy must be immediately lifted now that the Obama administration says it’s unconstitutional to treat gay Americans differently under the law.
The ruling was the latest legal development in the long-running effort to end the policy by gay rights supporters.
The panel also noted that Congress repealed the policy in December and that the Pentagon is preparing to certify that it is ready to welcome gay military personnel.
It was not immediately clear what effect the court’s ruling, which came in a lawsuit filed by a gay rights group, on the timeline for eliminating the ban.
Update 1, 2:57pm: Log Cabin Republicans, the case plaintiffs, release a statement
“The ruling by the 9th Circuit in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States removes all uncertainty – American servicemembers are no longer under threat of discharge as the repeal implementation process goes forward,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.
“As a captain in the United States Army Reserve, I have observed the reactions of my colleagues to the Department of Defense’s move toward open service, and can say with complete confidence that our military is ready, willing and able to take this step. Log Cabin Republicans are proud of our role in ending this unconstitutional and un-American policy once and for all.”
“We are delighted with today’s Ninth Circuit ruling that reinstates the injunction that Judge Phillips entered last September against enforcement of DADT. This ruling vindicates the right of openly gay and lesbian individuals to enlist or serve in our armed forces,” said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans.
Update 2, 5:01pm: In initial statement, Pentagon agrees to comply with court decision
Pentagon officials said Wednesday that they will comply with the court order and are taking immediate steps to inform commanders in the field. Col. Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman, said the department is studying the ruling.