(CN) – The 9th Circuit on Wednesday blocked further enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by the U.S. military, more than six months after Congress repealed the policy.
In a two-page unsigned order, a three-judge appellate panel said it would lift a stay on a nationwide injunction blocking the policy, ordered by a Los Angeles federal judge in October 2010.
After the 9th Circuit stayed that injunction pending appeal in November, and the Supreme Court affirmed.
Then in December, President Barack Obama signed a law passed by Congress that repealed the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. The 9th Circuit refused to reconsider lifting the stay until after the parties had submitted briefs.
The government asked the court to suspend the appeal, while the group dedicated to striking down the ban, the Log Cabin Republicans, asked the court to affirm the injunction, vacate the stay and issue other relief.
While the process of repealing the ban on gay military service “well underway,” the court also noted how the government abandoned the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in February. Passed in 1996, DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
“The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, and [the government] can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay,” according to the ruling filed Wednesday.
After vacating the stay, the judges granted the government’s request to expedite oral argument, scheduling a hearing for Aug. 29 in Pasadena.
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