LOS ANGELES — The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is back in place for the time being, with one major caveat: The government is not allowed to investigate, penalize or discharge anyone who openly is gay.
A San Francisco federal appeals court ordered the military to temporarily continue the controversial policy in an order late Friday, the court’s response to a request from the Obama administration.
The order is the latest twist in the legal limbo gay service members have found themselves in as the policy is fought in the courts simultaneous to its slow dismantling by the federal government, which expects to do away with it by later this year.
In its three-page ruling, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the ruling was based on new information provided by the federal government, including a declaration from Major General Steven A. Hummer, who is leading the effort to repeal the policy.
“In order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented in the light of these previously undisclosed facts,” the court wrote, that it would uphold an earlier order to keep the policy in place.
The court of appeals had halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” July 6 but the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Thursday saying ending the policy now would pre-empt the orderly process for rolling it back, per a law signed by President Barack Obama.