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Ninth Circuit again partially reinstates 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday ordered [text, PDF] that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive], the controversial policy barring openly gay individuals from serving in the military, will remain partially in effect during the 60 days prior to its newly-scheduled repeal. The court effectively reiterated its order issued [JURIST report] last week, in which it reinstated DADT, but explicitly ordered the military to refrain from investigating, penalizing or discharging any of its members as originally provided for under the policy. Hours earlier, President Barack Obama [official website], Defense Secretary Leon Panetta [official profile] and the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified [text, PDF; JURIST report] DADT's repeal, scheduling the policy to end September 20. The order allows the court to continue its consideration of the issues concerning the policy's complete repeal.

Last week's order followed an emergency motion made by the Obama administration asking the court to reinstate DADT [JURIST report], arguing that the Ninth Circuit's decision earlier in the month to order a stop to the policy [JURIST report] was misguided and would hinder the repeal process already underway. In November, the court issued the original stay [JURIST report] suspending enforcement of the injunction against DADT. The government had requested that the litigation be placed on hold in light of the passage of legislation to repeal the policy [JURIST report]. After hearing seven months of arguments and briefs, the Ninth Circuit rejected that appeal and lifted the stay. Since DADT's 1993 enactment, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy.

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