Federal court says military must end ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ now
SAN FRANCISCO, July 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal appeals court has lifted the stay on a judge’s order that requires the U.S. military to end enforcement immediately of the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces.
A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said that the concerns which prompted them to issue a stay of a federal judge’s order on DADT back in November no longer remain.
The court’s ruling allows the worldwide order of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to go into effect. Phillips’ ruling, issued in October 2010, made illegal the U.S. enforcement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and 10 U.S.C. § 654, the 1993 law banning homosexuals from military service.
Congress later repealed the ban and the policy (both together referred to as DADT), but specified that the ban would be dropped only 60 days after the Pentagon had certified that the armed forces were prepared to integrate open homosexuals into the ranks.
The Los Angeles Times reports that military officials say they were weeks away from completing troop sensitivity training for integrating homosexuals throughout the armed forces, and certifying military readiness for repeal.
Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan told the Wall Street Journal that the US military intends to “comply with orders of the court, and are taking immediate steps to inform the field of this order.”
However, opponents of DADT repeal decried the federal court’s interference in the process.
“The court has wrongly and irresponsibly usurped the role of Congress, the President and military leaders in setting policy for the armed forces. Last year’s repudiated Democratic lame-duck Congress passed legislation that requires certification by President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before open homosexuality is permitted in the military,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a former U.S. Marine captain.
“Congress must maintain the ability to protect the military against the threats to good order, morale, discipline, and unit cohesion that would be posed by allowing open homosexuality in the military,” said Perkins. “Unfortunately, today’s ruling further complicates an already flawed implementation process.”
He urged Obama to appeal the 9th Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, in their decision the panel of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw and Richard A. Paez, cited a recent Justice Department brief filed against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that asserted the United States was guilty of “a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people.”
The panel is set to hear oral arguments in the appeal of Phillips’ ruling on August 29.