A federal appeals court in California
on Friday agreed to allow the military to temporarily continue “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell,” the policy that bans gay and lesbian troops from
serving openly, the AP reported.
But even as it agreed to reverse its
July 6 order, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco
placed a restriction on the policy: the Pentagon is not allowed to
discharge any service member who is openly gay.
The move comes in response to an
emergency motion filed Thursday by the Obama administration asking
the court to reconsider its ruling that ordered the military to halt
enforcement of the gay ban.
The court said it was acting based on
new information provided by the government.
Last September, U.S. District Judge
Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the military's policy has a “direct
and deleterious effect” on the armed services and ordered an
immediate halt. The appeals court had placed the order on hold until
last week, when it reversed course.
Lawmakers last December agreed to
repeal the 1993 law, but the policy remains in effect until 60 days
after top Pentagon leaders and President Barack Obama certify that
the military has been properly trained for the change.
The Obama administration said it had
filed the motion to “avoid short-circuiting the repeal process
established by Congress during the final stages of the implementation
Friday's ruling suggests the military
is very close to certifying repeal.