(CN) – The 9th Circuit temporarily reinstated the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy late Friday, but warned that officials can’t use it to investigate or discharge any gay and lesbian soldiers.
The move is the latest in a ongoing battle over who controls the long process to get rid of the controversial policy the government or the court?
Early this month, the San Francisco-based circuit lifted a worldwide stay of an injunction that banned the government from enforcing the policy against gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the military, concluding that the stay was moot because the government was no longer defending the policy.
Last week, the Department of Justice shot back with an emergency motion arguing that lifting the stay would undermine the process begun under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. The government claimed that that process was nearing completion, and could be done within a matter of weeks. The government added that only one service member had been discharged under the policy since the repeal act passed.
In light of this information, the 9th Circuit reconsidered its position and reinstated the policy temporarily, sans teeth.
“In the motion for reconsideration, appellants provide considerably more detailed information concerning the implementation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, than they did in their May 20, 2011, opposition to the motion to lift the stay,” according to a brief order filed late Friday.
The order continued, “This information includes the declaration of Major General Steven A. Hummer, Chief of Staff of the Repeal Implementation Team of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; the representation that only one service member has been discharged [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] since the passage of the Repeal Act; the representation that the Secretaries of the Military Departments, Chiefs of the Military Services, and Commanders of the Combatant Commands have recently submitted their written advice regarding the status of their preparation for repeal and ability to satisfy the certification standards set by Congress; and the representation that repeal certification will be presented to the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a matter of weeks, by the end of July or early in August. Appellants acknowledge that they did not previously inform the court of the full extent of the implementation of the Repeal Act.”