Court: `Don`t ask, don`t tell` will stay in place

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"The situation with finally ending this outdated and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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