A panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reinstated a ruling banning the military from dismissing openly gay service members while the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is pending completion.
The court’s decision in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States cited another recent federal case, Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which asserted “gay and lesbian individuals have suffered a long and significant history of purposeful discrimination.” To avoid further discrimination, and because the repeal process is “well underway,” the court ruled in favor of lifting the stay on DADT and prohibited any more dismissals under the policy.
President Obama signed DADT repeal into law last December. But according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for LGBT veterans, it is still unsafe for active service members to come out until 60 days after certification by the President, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Ninth Circuit must also rule on the biggest question—DADT’s constitutionality—which the court scheduled for August 29. LGBT groups, however, applauded the step toward DADT’s abolition.
“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is most welcomed,” said Aubrey Sarvis, and Army veteran and executive director of Servicemembers Legal defense Network. “It’s [our hope] that this favorable ruling will not be challenged by the Defense Department. In fact, this whole matter could have been avoided had we had certification back in the spring. It’s time to get on with that important certification, end the DADT confusion for all service members, and put a final end to this misguided policy.”