Pentagon to comply with court’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ order

Friday, October 15, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has announced that it would comply with the court’s order to stop enforcing its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits homosexuality in the armed services.

“The Department of Defense will of course obey the law,” Colonel Dave Lapan, a department spokesman, said in a statement.

The Pentagon would cease investigations and discharges of service members found to be in violation of the policy, officials said.

On Thursday, the Obama administration had asked Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California, to delay the implementation of her ruling till the government’s appeal is heard.

According to the Washington Post, the administration has said that it needs some time to institute new policies to ensure that the change does not affect combat readiness or morale and added that it would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

However, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, a group that supports ending the ban, has encouraged gay military members not to disclose their sexual orientation despite the Pentagon’s announcement.

“It is clear there is confusion, and this interim period is dangerous for service members. Our service members need finality,” the paper quoted Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, as saying in a statement.

Earlier, Judge Phillips issued an injunction banning enforcement of the law and ordered the military to immediately “suspend and discontinue” any investigations or proceedings to dismiss service members.

Judge Phillips said that the 17-year-old policy “infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members” and violates their rights of due process and freedom of speech.

The case was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, a 19,000-member gay advocacy group that includes current and former military members. The group argued during a two-week trial in July that the policy is unconstitutional and should be struck down.

Lawyers for the group plan to respond to the government’s application for a stay within 24 hours, a spokeswoman said. (ANI)

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