Government Challenges Suspension of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy”

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The Obama administration has asked a federal judge for an emergency suspension of her recent injunction stopping the enforcement of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

The Hill is reporting that the Department of Justice has asked U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips of California for a stay of her decision while they prepare an appeal that will be made with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pentagon officials are concerned that an abrupt end of the law would create serious logistical issues during war time, as well as hamper the Pentagon’s ongoing efforts to review the impact of repeal on the nation’s military.

Even though President Obama has committed himself to repealing the ban, he has also made it clear that this action should be taken by Congress. To date, the House has managed to pass legislation repealing the ban by attaching it to a defense authorization bill, but the Senate has thus far failed to act on the legislation.

Meanwhile, news of the government’s decision to challenge the ruling has disappointed and angered gay rights groups who have been pressing for repeal of the law since Obama took office.

“The president needs to deliver on his promise to end the law this year,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization dedicated to the repeal of the law. 

“Given the uncertainty in the courts, we urge the Senate to act swiftly next month on repeal when they return to Washington. Congress made this law over 17 years ago and Congress now has an affirmative responsibility to bring clarity and finality to ending this law.”

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