A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday ordered an indefinite extension [order, PDF] of its temporary stay [JURIST report] preventing the suspension of the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy. The new order will extend the government's emergency motion [text, PDF] to stay the injunction [JURIST report] issued by the US District Court of the Central District of California [official website] that required the US military to end enforcement of DADT. The judges agreed with the government that the district court's injunction would "seriously disrupt ongoing and determined efforts by the administration to devise an orderly change of policy" and would result in "immediate harm" and "irreparable injury" to the military. The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) [advocacy website], the conservative gay activist organization that brought the suit, expressed its "disappointment" [press release] in the Ninth Circuit's decision:
Despite this temporary setback, Log Cabin remains confident that we will ultimately prevail on behalf of servicemembers' constitutional rights. In the meantime, we urge President Obama to use his statutory stop-loss power to halt discharges under this discriminatory and wasteful policy. The president claims to want to see "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ended. It is time that he stop talking and start working to make a real difference for gay and lesbian Americans by pushing for repeal when Congress returns.The order will remain in effect until the court resolves the suit [LCR backgrounder].
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. In September, 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Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy.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.