by Rex Wockner
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 denied the federal government’s request to suspend the Log Cabin Republicans’ case against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military gay ban while the Pentagon works to abolish the policy.
In a late-afternoon notice sent to interested parties, the court said: “The opposed motion to hold these appeals in abeyance is denied. The briefing schedule is reset as follows: the government’s opening brief and excerpts of record are due Feb. 25, 2011; Log Cabin Republicans’ answering brief and supplemental excerpts of record are due March 28, 2011; and the government’s reply brief is due 14 days after service of the answering brief.”
DADT was struck down as unconstitutional last October by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif.
The Obama administration, however, appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit and obtained a stay of Phillips’ injunction that had halted the ban’s enforcement worldwide.
Then, in December, Congress, which legislated DADT 18 years ago, voted to authorize the Pentagon to repeal the policy, but the Pentagon has not yet done so, and the process is likely to take several more months.
The government was hoping to pause its appeal in the meantime, but the 9th Circuit has rejected the request.
Log Cabin had strongly opposed any delay in the case.
“Despite what the government has led the American people to believe, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has not been repealed and will likely remain the law of the land until the end of 2011,” said the group’s attorney, Dan Woods. “In the meantime, openly gay individuals are not free to enlist in our armed forces, current service members must continue to live a lie, and the government continues to investigate and discharge service members. … The government asked us to agree to the delay and we were willing to do so on one condition: that the government halt all pending investigations and discharges during the period of delay. The government refused, and its attorneys said that investigations and discharges will continue.”