District Judge Virginia Phillips has denied the government's
request for a stay of her injunction against enforcement of “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops
from serving openly.
The Obama administration has already
said it will appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco.
Last week, Phillips granted plaintiffs,
represented by gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, the injunction
they sought after she ruled the law unconstitutional last month.
In its request, the government argued
that a court-ordered repeal of the 17-year-old policy would be
“disruptive to military readiness,” but Phillips disagreed.
“While Defendants' interests in
preventing the status quo and enforcing its laws are important, these
interests are outweighed by the compelling public interest of
safeguarding fundamental constitutional rights,” she wrote. “The
evidence Defendants submitted with this Application has not
President Barrack Obama supports ending
the policy, but said last week that he wants Congress to repeal the
“By the judge keeping the injunction
in place, lesbian and gay service members are protected another day,
but the uncertainty has not gone away,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive
director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest
group lobbying for repeal of the law, said in a statement.
“We're talking about the careers of
patriots, people who are on the frontlines serving our country –
some of whom are highly decorated – and the court needs to keep the
injunction in place.”
Sarvis also warned gay service members
to not reveal their sexuality: “During this interim period of
uncertainty, service members must not come out.”
On Tuesday, the
Pentagon announced it would accept openly gay recruits, so long as
Phillips' injunction remains in place.
Dan Choi, the gay rights activist discharged from the Army after he
announced he's gay on national television, immediately reenlisted.