A federal appeals court has, at the urging of the White House, granted a temporary stay on an Oct. 12 order by a district court judge to stop enforcing "don't ask, don't tell," which bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Many observers are surprised to see the Obama administration, which has opposed the policy and sought its repeal through Congress, lobbying the appeals court to keep the ban in place. The stay is temporary and is designed to maintain the status quo until the appeal court can formally review the policy. The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that it would begin allowing openly gay recruits; the New York Times reports that this court stay "almost certainly means the government will go back to enforcing" don't ask, don't tell. Here's what people are saying about this development and what it means for the controversial policy.
- Obama Explains the Move The Associated Press's Lisa Leff reports, "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. ... Government lawyers argue that striking down the policy and ordering the Pentagon to immediately allow openly gay service members could harm troop morale and unit cohesion when the military is fighting two wars." The Department of Justice issues a statement:
- Legal Complications if DADT Repealed Too Quickly The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise and John Schwartz write, "Military officers have argued that if the change is made too quickly, it will place the military on a collision course with federal statutes. Families and spouses of soldiers have access to benefits like housing, health care and education through marriage, which the federal government does not recognize for same-sex couples."
- Now Obama Owns a Policy He Opposes The American Prospect's Adam Serwer warned before the White House secured its sought-after stay, "if the administration successfully appeals Judge Phillips's decision, it will find itself obligated to enforce a policy the president himself says he opposes and that he says undermines national security, a policy with no empirical, legal, or moral basis. The administration will have effectively instituted its own Proposition 8, retroactively denying rights to individuals who already have them. That will be significantly harder to explain or justify than simply maintaining the status quo. After having promised to repeal DADT, Obama would be responsible for its ongoing survival."
- Obama 'Losing Control' Liberal blogger Joe Sudbay fumes, "Well, DADT is the law of the land again -- at least for now. This has gotten absurd. The White House has lost control of this situation and it looks bad. I hope whoever concocted the Obama administration's strategy on DADT (and those who enabled it, meaning HRC and Winnie Stachelberg at CAP) grasp the magnitude of how screwed up this is. The people who are suffering here are the men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.