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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 6 lifted its stay of a federal District Court ruling that found the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military gay ban unconstitutional.
As a result, DADT no longer can be enforced anywhere in the world, it’s OK to be openly gay in the military, and openly LGB people can sign up to join the military.
The Pentagon said July 8 that it had halted all DADT separation proceedings and is accepting applications from openly gay prospective recruits.
The U.S. government could appeal the lifting of the stay, but there has been no indication it plans to do so. Congress’ repeal of DADT will be implemented in three-or-so months under a cumbersome process laid out in the repeal legislation that President Barack Obama signed last December.
In its order lifting its stay, a panel of 9th Circuit judges said: “(A)ppellants … do not contend that (DADT) is constitutional. In addition, in the context of the Defense of Marriage Act … the United States has recently taken the position that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny. … (‘gay and lesbian individuals have suffered a long and significant history of purposeful discrimination’) … (‘there is, regrettably, a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people, by governmental as well as private entities’). Appellants … state that the process of repealing (DADT) is well underway, and the preponderance of the armed forces are expected to have been trained by mid-summer. The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, and appellants … can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”
“We won,” said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, the plaintiff in the case. “DADT cannot be enforced or applied! Hooah!”
The legal director of Lambda Legal, Jon Davidson, called the 9th Circuit’s order “a quite stunning development.
“It shows just how important it is that the Department of Justice now recognizes that sexual-orientation discrimination should be presumed to be unconstitutional and that courts should examine such discrimination carefully, as the Department of Justice forcefully argued in its brief filed last Friday in our Golinski case, which today’s 9th Circuit order expressly referenced.”
Davidson added that gay members of the military considering coming out might hold off until it’s crystal clear that the government isn’t going to appeal the 9th Circuit’s order.