The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] issued a temporary stay [order, PDF] on Wednesday preventing the suspension of the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy. The one-page order granted the government's emergency motion [text, PDF] to stay last week's decision [JURIST report] from the US District Court of the Central District of California [official website] requiring the US military to end enforcement of DADT. The government requested the emergency stay because the "district court's order precludes the administration of an Act of Congress and risks causing significant immediate harm to the military and its efforts to be prepared to implement an orderly repeal of the statute." As part of the temporary stay, the court requested that the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) [advocacy website], the conservative gay activist organization that brought the suit [LCR backgrounder], submit their opposition to the order by next week. The court will then decide whether to issue a stay that will last until February when it hears the case. The LCR's attorney called the ruling nothing more than a "minor setback" [press release], and remains confident that the court will not impose a long-term stay.
Since the enactment of DADT in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy. Last month, a California district court ruled [JURIST report] that DADT was unconstitutional. Following the decision, the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] asked the court [JURIST report] to not enforce the decision, arguing that the ruling was overbroad and that the military should be permitted time to implement a non-judicial solution to the issue. Also last month, a federal judge for the US District for the Western District of Washington [official website] ordered [JURIST report] that a US Air Force officer be reinstated after being previous discharged under DADT. Also in September, the Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy. In May, the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) [official websites] voted to repeal the policy after President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed to a compromise [JURIST reports] that would prevent the repeal from taking effect until the completion of a review to determine what effects the repeal would have on military effectiveness, soldier retention and family readiness.