The Pentagon on Friday announced it
would abide by a federal court ruling and ordered a halt to all
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' proceedings.
The move comes after the three-judge
panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San
Francisco ordered the military to end enforcement of the 1993 law
that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.
The court on Wednesday reversed its own
ruling that kept the policy in place after U.S. District Judge
Virginia A. Phillips ruled last September that the Pentagon's policy
Phillips ruled that “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell” has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed
services and ordered an immediate halt to the policy. The government
appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
to the Army Times, the Pentagon has yet to announce
whether it plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), applauded the moratorium
but added that his group is looking for a concrete statement that the
policy's end is finally at hand.
“SLDN welcomes this temporary
suspension of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' discharges in the wake of this
week's court decision, but we urge the Pentagon to go further by
suspending all investigations of service members that are currently
ongoing, and confirm that the Department of Defense and Department of
Justice are not preparing to appeal the court's ruling,” Sarvis
said in a statement. “It's imperative for service members, gay and
straight, who have been living with ambiguity for far too long as
this process has languished unnecessarily. The time for clarity and
finality is long overdue.”
The court order comes just weeks before
President Barack Obama is expected to sign certification that the
military is ready to end the ban. Under the terms outlined in last
December's legislative repeal of the policy, “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell” would end 60 days after certification.
Before leaving his post as Secretary of
Defense on June 30, Robert Gates said he was prepared to sign off on
certification, but decided to leave the task to his successor, Leon