The Obama administration on Wednesday secured a temporary hold on a trial judge's order to stop enforcing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” a day after a lower court denied the administration's request.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted defendants the stay they sought while the government prepares an appeal to U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' September ruling striking down the law as unconstitutional and subsequent injunction against its enforcement.

The three-judge panel said it issued the hold “in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented.” The court is expected to consider a permanent stay that would remain in effect for the duration of the appeal.

Phillips ruled against the policy that demands the ouster of non-celibate, non-closeted gay troops in September and blocked the government from enforcing it last week.

Gay group the Log Cabin Republicans represented the plaintiffs challenging the 17-year-old law.

In requesting its stay, the government renewed many of the same arguments rejected earlier by Phillips, primarily that any order should be limited to members of the Log Cabin Republicans and that a court-ordered repeal of the law would disrupt the military.

“We're a little surprised that they're making the same old argument again,” R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of LCR, told the Washington Post. “One has to wonder what the tact here is? Is it that the think they have another shot at making the same arguments again?''

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest group lobbying for repeal of the law, renewed his call for Congress to legislatively repeal the law during a lame-duck session after the November midterm elections.

“Gay and lesbian service members deserve better treatment than they are getting with this ruling,” Sarvis said in a statement. “We now must look to the Senate next month in the lame duck session to bring about the swift certainty needed here and to repeal this unjust law that serves no useful purpose.”

Prospects of passage in the Senate, however, remain dim. Republican Senators in September successfully filibustered a repeal bill. Arizona Senator John McCain has already promised to work against a second effort.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced it would accept openly gay recruits, but whether the military alters course in light of Wednesday's development remains to be seen. Several high-profile openly gay service members – including Army Lt. Dan Choi – reenlisted on Tuesday.