A federal appeals court has frozen a judge’s order halting the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, even as the Pentagon has announced it will accept openly gay recruits.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday temporarily granted the U.S. government’s request for a freeze on the judge’s order.
The appellate court instructed lawyers for the gay rights group that brought the lawsuit successfully challenging the policy to file arguments in response by Monday.
The judges would then decide whether to extend the temporary stay while it considers the government’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling that the policy was unconstitutional.
The 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule says gays may serve but only if they keep secret their sexual orientation.
President Barack Obama said last week that the Clinton-era law “will end on my watch” but added that “It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now.” He said he supports repeal of the policy, but only after careful review and an act of Congress.
A new CBS News Poll says a majority of respondents supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
The survey conducted Oct. 6-8, found 56 percent of those questioned were in favor of open service, compared with 31 percent in opposition. CBS said that result was similar to a February poll on the same topic which found 58 percent favored and 28 percent opposed.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)