Federal Court Orders Government to Stop Enforcing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

Human Rights 07.7,11

Yesterday, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the military to immediately cease enforcing “don’t ask don’t tell.”

President Obama signed a law repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” on December 22, but the repeal does not take effect until all four Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that eliminating the policy will not diminish combat readiness. The Joint Chiefs have yet to certify and the military has continued investigations and discharges under the policy.

Since the repeal law was enacted, civil and human rights groups have urged the Pentagon to quickly certify the repeal and officially end the discriminatory policy. Repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” was a major priority for the civil and human rights community, who had long considered the policy to be discriminatory and counterproductive.

“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is most welcomed,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “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.”