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Pentagon Issues Moratorium on DADT Discharges

Pentagon Issues Moratorium on DADT Discharges

 

The Pentagon has officially issued a moratorium on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) discharges following the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week to uphold a lower court’s order to immediately halt all enforcement of the military’s DADT policy.

From The Washington Blade:

In a letter dated July 8, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness Clifford Stanley writes that the military service secretaries must comply with an injunction against enforcing military’s gay ban that was reinstated Wednesday by a three-judge panel on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The institution of this moratorium was first reported by the Army Times.

“The reinstatement of that injunction … is effective immediately,” Stanley writes. “The secretaries of the military departments shall ensure immediate compliance with the injunction and this memorandum.”

[...]

“It remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline,” Stanley writes. “Further, because the injunction is once again in effect, the department will process applications for enlistment or appointment without regard to sexual orientation.”

It should be noted the Obama administration could still appeal the 9th Circuit’s decision.

While it may seem that an appeal would run contrary to the President’s desire to see “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” retired it would be procedural matter with some merit. Given that DADT has now twice been ruled unconstitutional here, first by a federal district court judge and now by the 9th Circuit, it adds support to the notion that DADT must be repealed and also wards off attempts to stop the repeal by certain Republican lawmakers in Congress. Also, a ruling in the same vein from the Supreme Court of the United States would not only be a big win on the DADT front (perhaps even enjoining the military to enforce the explicit non-discrimination policy that is currently lacking in the repeal), but could constitute a boon for future gay rights cases.

That said, DADT repeal certification is said to be close at hand, which would rather render an appeal pointless other than to continue the status quo and follow the procedure as laid out by December’s repeal legislation that the policy will be retired sixty days after certification. This reason alone would likely be enough for the Supreme Court to dismiss the case. There is also an inherent risk of putting the question before the Supreme Court and having them rule against the repeal (which would be a boost to GOP lawmakers attempting to derailing the retiring of DADT).

The unease over how the Obama administration will  handle this situation has not gone unvoiced.

Group Servicemembers United issued a press release urging the administration to clarify what it will now do:

Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis released the following statement in response to the moratorium reported today by Army Times, indicating the Pentagon intends to halt all discharges under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law following this week’s ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“SLDN welcomes this temporary suspension of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharges in the wake of this week’s court decision, but we urge the Pentagon to go further by suspending all investigations of service members that are currently ongoing, and confirm that the Department of Defense and Department of Justice are not preparing to appeal the court’s ruling. It’s imperative for service members, gay and straight, who have been living with ambiguity for far too long as this process has languished unnecessarily. The time for clarity and finality is long overdue.”

Some positive news in this regards comes from reports that t least one servicemember has seen a halt to discharge proceedings against him.

From The Advocate:

Airman 1st Class Justin Dailey said Friday that he had been served with discharge paperwork on June 9 after his sexual orientation came to the attention of his command. Dailey, 25, said he did not make a voluntary statement on his sexual orientation and was not seeking separation from the Armed Forces.

Stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Dailey said he was told on Thursday — one day after the ninth circuit’s order lifting the stay on U.S. district judge Virginia Phillips’s injunction against DADT — that his discharge proceedings had been suspended. “I had intended on fighting this tooth and nail,” Dailey said. “I’m happy I can proceed with my career and get back to work.”

Dailey’s account was confirmed by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has represented the airman in collaboration with his military defense attorney. SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes said that the military attorney had received notification via phone of Dailey’s discharge suspension but has not yet received specific written communication from Defense officials.

The latter point, that proceedings have halted but have not necessarily gone away, remains key. SLDN is urging LGB servicemembers to not yet come out until the Obama administration has made it clear that it will not appeal the 9th Circuit order and will now allow the repeal to go into effect.

Related Reading:

GOP Offers ‘Plan B’ on DOMA and Other Anti-Gay Amendments

Barney Frank Calls on Obama to Veto A Defense Bill with Anti-Gay Amendments

Half of Military Now Trained for DADT Repeal

U.S. Army Launches DADT Website

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to the U.S. Army Photostream.

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12 comments

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8:37AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

ty

8:49PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

This is one American Alexandra R that hears you loud and clear. And I will work as hard as I can to always defeat them.

8:43PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Let's get past the homophobia, folks....

6:38PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Enough with the foot-dragging. Hammer a stake through DADT’s heart & kill it once and for all.

1:22PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

What someone does in the privacy of their home/bedroom is not one bit my business nor any one else's. If they want to defend our country by entering the military, they have that right. Who in their right mind is worrying about someone's sexual orientation in the middle of a firefight?!? If that person has my back in a bad situation then that is enough for me!

6:50AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was originally designed to help prevent abuse of Gay and Lesbian members of the armed forces. But like so many other well-intentioned ideas, once it was taken over by bigots, it's intent was left in the dust. Bigotry and intolerance can take the best of intentions and the noblest of purpose and find some way to twist it into abuse of the very people it's meant to protect.

5:42AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

This should have been over and done with as soon as DADT was dumped. Any civilian who wants to serve in the military to protect their country should be treated with respect and not be subjected to the witch hunting DADT caused. DADT is gone. Everybody should accept that. End of story.

5:24AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

I'd agree to a "Don't ask" policy if it was out of respect. Unfortunately, as soon as you add the "don't tell" you're making clear it's not out of respect, it's hypocrisy.

3:16AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

It is long past time for this obscenity to join racial segregation (and even slavery) in the dustbin of history.

A previous comment with the phrase "Christian Taliban" is exactly correct; what needs to be stressed, however - particularly by actual Christian leaders - is that these people are perverts, NOT "Christians," and it is also long past time that this issue be publicly confronted.

For the very claim by these people of being "Christians" is not only obscene, but out and out blasphemy, as there is nothing - NOTHING - remotely Christ-like about them. These people are merely biblicists, the polite term; a far more descriptive (and accurate) moniker is bible-beating-bunko artists.

These demented, petulant and hate-filled bigots and ignoramuses are misanthropes (and sadists) who have taken a name representing the message and life example of The Christ and grotesquely perverted them. It is they who are the abominations.

Finally, those who shriek the loudest and the shrillest about the "ho-mo-sexual agenda" are not only completely divorced from evidence-based reality, but perfectly described by the Bard himself with the line "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" (Hamlet: Act III, Scene II).

10:01AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

thanks.

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