Court: `Don`t ask, don`t tell` will stay in place
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Last Updated: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 20:26
  
Los Angeles: The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is back in place for the time being, with one major caveat: The government is not allowed to investigate, penalise or discharge anyone who is openly gay.

A San Francisco federal appeals court ordered the military to temporarily continue the controversial policy in an order late yesterday, the court's response to a request from the Obama administration.

The order is the latest twist in the legal limbo gay service members have found themselves in as the policy is fought in the courts simultaneous to its slow dismantling by the federal government, which expects to do away with it by later this year.

In its three-page ruling, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the ruling was based on new information provided by the federal government, including a declaration from Major General Steven A. Hummer, who is leading the effort to repeal the policy.

"In order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented in the light of these previously undisclosed facts," the court wrote that it would uphold an earlier order to keep the policy in place.

The court of appeals had halted "don't ask, don't tell" on July 6 but the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Thursday saying ending the policy now would pre-empt the orderly process for rolling it back, per a law signed by President Barack Obama in December.

The ruling was supported by Servicemembers United, an organisation of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, but the group's executive director Alexander Nicholson voiced frustration over the slow process of dismantling "don't ask, don't tell."

"The situation with finally ending this outdated and discriminatory federal policy has become absolutely ridiculous," said Nicholson. "It is simply not right to put the men and women of our armed forces through this circus any longer."

PTI


First Published: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 20:26


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