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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 8, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 27
Ninth Circuit halts enforcement of DADT
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Ninth Circuit halts enforcement of DADT

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its own stay of a lower court's injunction barring enforcement of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) policy July 6.

This move once again renders DADT unenforceable by the Pentagon.

'With the wait for certification dragging out beyond a reasonable time frame, the Court has once again stepped in to require the Pentagon to stop enforcing DADT, and this time it very well may be for good,' said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United and the sole veteran plaintiff on the case. 'I am proud to have worked personally with Log Cabin [Republicans] on this case for more than five years now and to have represented the Gay military community as the sole named veteran on this lawsuit. Despite the criticisms and years of waiting, this case has yet again successfully eviscerated this outdated, harmful, and discriminatory law.'

The Log Cabin Republicans vs. USA lawsuit is the only contemporary successful challenge to the constitutionality of DADT, which requires the Department of Defense to fire any servicemember found to be Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual.

In 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips found DADT to be unconstitutional after a two-week trial, and issued an order barring enforcement of the law worldwide. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently issued a stay of that order pending appeal by the government. The July 6 order from the Ninth Circuit overturns its own previous stay, rendering DADT once again unenforceable.

Nicholson added, 'Servicemembers should still remain extremely cautious with information regarding their sexual orientation for the time being. The issue remains in a state of flux, although guarded optimism is certainly warranted.'

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