Washington: President Barack Obama has
vowed to end the military`s `Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell` policy
that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly even as the US
Justice Department has requested an emergency stay on federal
judge`s injunction stopping enforcement of the policy.
"We are moving in the direction of ending this policy.
It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are
involved in a war right now. This is not a question of whether
the policy will. This policy will end and it will end on my
watch," Obama said at a Youth Town Hall meeting.
"I do have an obligation to make sure that I am
following some of the rules. I can`t simply ignore laws that
are out there. I`ve got to work to make sure that they are
changed," he said.
Referring to a recent district court order that said,
`Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell` is unconstitutional, he said: "I agree
with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in
our armed forces and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf
of our national security, anybody should be able to serve.
They shouldn`t have to lie about who they are in order to
Earlier in the day, Justice Department lawyers said
they wanted the federal court in California to grant a stay of
the injunction, which would remain in effect throughout the
The stay would allow for an orderly transition to a
policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the US military.
Senior military lawyers at the Department of Defense
directed military lawyers to stop any proceedings related to
"Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," a Pentagon spokesman said.
"The department will abide by the terms in the court`s
ruling, effective as of the time and date of the ruling," Col
Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman, said.
Under Secretary of Defense for overall military
readiness, Clifford L Stanley, cautioned that an abrupt
transition would ruin Pentagon`s work surveying military
commands around the world to determine how best to create a
new policy that allows people who are openly homosexual to
In a sworn declaration submitted with the government`s
appeal, Stanley said "the injunction will have adverse effects
on both military readiness and the department`s ability to
effect a smooth and lasting transition to a policy that
accommodates the presence of openly gay and lesbian service
members. The stakes are so high, and the potential harm so
great, that caution is in order."
Stanley warned that "a poorly implemented transition
will not only cause short-term disruption to military
operations, but would also jeopardise the long-term success of
the transition. Either outcome would irreparably harm our
military and the national security of the US."