Court orders immediate halt to gay military ban
A federal appeals court ordered the U.S. government on Wednesday to immediately cease enforcing the ban on openly gay members of the military, a move that could speed the repeal of the 17-year-old rule.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy must be lifted now that the Obama administration has concluded it’s unconstitutional to treat gay Americans differently under the law. The appeals court noted that Congress repealed the policy in December and that the Pentagon is preparing to certify that it is ready to welcome gay military personnel.
Pentagon officials said Wednesday that they will comply with the court order and are taking immediate steps to inform commanders in the field. Col. Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman, said the department is studying the ruling.
Gay rights advocates said without an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court — which seems unlikely since the Pentagon already is committed to repealing the rule — the government now is barred from discharging gay or lesbian servicemembers anywhere in the world.