Pentagon officials announced on Friday
they would comply with a federal court's ruling ordering it to stop
enforcing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and
bisexual troops from serving openly, but warned service members they
should not alter their behavior, Reuters reported.
Undersecretary of Defense Clifford
Stanley warned gay troops that altering their personal conduct could
have “adverse consequences” for themselves and others should the
order be reversed.
The caution comes after U.S.
District Judge Virginia Phillips granted plaintiffs, represented
by gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, the injunction they sought
after declaring the law unconstitutional last month.
In ruling against the Clinton-era law
responsible for ending the military careers of more than 13,000
service members, Phillips said the policy has a “direct and
deleterious effect” on the armed services.
of Defense Robert M. Gates on Wednesday signaled he was prepared to
fight the judge's ruling when he said Congress, not a court, is
responsible for ending the law.
Stanley said the Pentagon would abide
by the order and confirmed that Obama's Justice Department had
appealed the ruling.
Arguing that a court-ordered repeal of
the policy would be “disruptive to military readiness,” the
Justice Department asked Phillips to delay implementation of her
injunction. Phillips is expected to deny the emergency stay –
perhaps as early as Monday – and the administration is likely to
seek one from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.
The ruling comes after Democrats
in the Senate failed to break a Senator John McCain-led Republican
filibuster on legislative repeal of the Clinton-era law.