NPR logo Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy Remains In Effect, Court Rules


Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy Remains In Effect, Court Rules

The U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy will remain in effect indefinitely while a challenge to the policy banning openly gay troops works its way through the courts.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports:

A three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday to indefinitely extend its freeze of a judge's order overturning the don't ask, don't tell policy.

The Justice Department had requested an indefinite stay while it challenges a California court's ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.

That means that gay and lesbian recruits and active-duty military can still not disclose their sexual orientations. The ruling also puts pressure on the Obama administration to pass legislation repealing the policy before a new Congress is sworn in next year.

The divided three-judge panel is composed of two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan and one appointed by President Bill Clinton.

The AP reports that two of the judges agreed with the Justice Department's argument that U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips' issuing of a blanket injunction against the policy could disrupt any attempts at "orderly change" by the Obama administration.

"Furthermore, if the administration is successful in persuading Congress to eliminate [the policy], this case and controversy will become moot," Judges Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain and Stephen S. Trott wrote.