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