The government must stop enforcing the law that prohibits openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving in the military, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a two-page order against the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a case brought by the group Log Cabin Republicans.
In 2010, a federal judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, ruled that the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop enforcing it. That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which issued a stay allowing the government to continue enforcing the policy as it made its way through the courts.
Congress repealed the policy last year, but called for a lengthy process of preparation, training and certification, still under way, before ending it. While the government has significantly narrowed enforcement, some discharges continued. And while the Obama administration had advocated the Congressional repeal, it had asked the court to keep the stay in place until the policy could be ended in an orderly fashion.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay of the District Court’s injunction against enforcing DADT. When DADT was found unconstitutional in the Log Cabin case last October, the District Court judge issued an injunction against its enforcement. And, Judge Phillips refused to grant a stay pending appeal. Despite numerous requests (including 21 U.S. Senators) that the Department of Justice not appeal this decision, DOJ did. DOJ also immediately went to the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay pending appeal, which was granted. Today, the Ninth Circuit lifted that stay, meaning DADT can’t be enforced anywhere in the world.
It is still not safe for gays in the military to reveal themselves. Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, deocrated US Air Force fighter pilot, appeared with Rachel Maddow to discuss the aspects of this latest ruling