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Obama administration moves to reinstate 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

The Obama administration on Thursday asked [stay application, PDF] for a federal judge to stay her order [order, PDF] requiring the US military to end enforcement of its controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive]. In reaction to the order [JURIST report] by Judge Virginia Phillips of the US District Court of the Central District of California [official website] to halt DADT, which came a little more than a month after the court declared the policy unconstitutional [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], the federal government filled an emergency stay application, a legal memo [text, PDF] in support of it, sworn statements by a pentagon official and a government lawyer [statements, PDF], a proposed stay order [order, PDF], and a formal notice of appeal [appeal notice, PDF] to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The government has given Phillips until Monday to comply, and if she does not, it will ask the Ninth Circuit to delay the order. The legal memo stated that the administration favors the repeal of DADT, and that key military officials share the same position, but that it was the Pentagon's "considered judgment that a precipitous change in policy will immediately and significantly impair the Department's current efforts to devise an orderly end to DADT."

Since its enactment in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of DADT. 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Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy.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 [official website] and the Senate Armed Services Committee 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. In March, Gates announced changes to the enforcement [JURIST report] of the policy to make it more difficult to expel openly gay service members from the military.

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