Responding to an appeal from the Department of Justice, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled on July 16 that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be officially reinstated, however it bars the military from “investigating, penalizing, or discharging anyone from the military pursuant” to the policy.
On July 6, the court had blocked a stay on the policy preventing gay military personnel from serving openly. The Dept. of Justice had filed an appeal, citing the policy’s imminent repeal and desire to maintain an orderly procedure for repeal. The new ruling was the result of new information that only one servicemember had been discharged under DADT this year. Three other individuals’ whose discharges were pending have been suspended while the court and the military settle the issue.
The move is being criticized by many gay rights activists for overly-complicating the issue and repeatedly changing how the policy is enforced. Servicemembers United executive director Alexander Nicholson, a plaintiff in the Log Cabin Republicans case, said, “The executive branch has been exceptionally unreasonable in the amount of time it has now let the legislative certification process drag out. It is simply not right to put the men and women of our armed forces through this circus any longer.”
Oral arguments in the Log Cabin Republican’s appeal on the constitutionality of DADT are scheduled to begin on September 1.