Don't Ask, Don't Tell | News

Court Orders U.S. To Halt DADT Discharges


Don't Ask, Don't Tell's day are numbered!

Well, for now, at least, because a panel of three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously today in favor of the Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit asking for an injunction stopping any and all discharges of openly gay servicemembers.

"Appellants/cross-appellees state that the process of repealing Section 654 is well underway, and the preponderance of the armed forces are expected to have been trained by mid-summer," they wrote in their decision. "The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, and appellants/cross-appellees can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay."

Activists from coast-to-coast are thrilled with the news, especially since the military has continued discharges, even after DADT was officially repealed.

Read more, AFTER THE JUMP...

"Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is most welcomed. It’s the hope of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that this favorable ruling will not be challenged by the Defense Department," said Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Alexander Nicholson, executive director for Servicemembers United, also released a statement, "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 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and this time it very well may be for good."

He was sure to warn, however, that "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."

Human Rights Campaign, meanwhile, had this to say: “Today’s decision is a harbinger that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is on its way out.  With troops trained on the new policy and senior military leaders having said the process is working without significant disruption, DADT is on its last legs.  The time for certification is now in order to clearly and plainly wipe this damaging law off the books once and for all.”

A different set of judges had previously ordered a stay of LCR's injunction. The court has also set oral argument appeals for the week of August 29th.

Here is a PDF of today's ruling.

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  1. Human Rights Campaign said this shows DADT is on its way out.

    Yep. No thanks to you.

    Posted by: Danny | Jul 6, 2011 4:52:58 PM

  2. And no thanks to Obama.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jul 6, 2011 5:00:00 PM

  3. Couldn't agree more - NO thanks to HRC. Thanks go to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( - they have tirelessly pursued this since DADT was initiated.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 6, 2011 5:10:11 PM

  4. How about giving some credit to the Log Cabin Republicans? Not all Republicans are evil, and not all Democrats are our friend.

    How typical of HRC to scoop up all the money, do nothing except throw pretty parties, and then try to act like they mattered in this effort. Disgusting.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Jul 6, 2011 5:13:32 PM

  5. Agreed - Log Cabin Republicans deserve credit for sticking with this issue as well.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 6, 2011 5:14:56 PM

  6. Just note that some people being discharged these days are doing their damndest to get out while DADT lets them.

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jul 6, 2011 5:18:33 PM

  7. HRC has all the money yet LCR is getting all the work done. But then again HRC does have to pay for all those cocktail parties so that must make them =

    Posted by: Name: | Jul 6, 2011 5:30:29 PM

  8. Love the way the Pentagon says it will start notifying commanders "in the field", as if most of the military is in Afghanistan or Iraq, which it aint.

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jul 6, 2011 5:39:52 PM

  9. I wouldn't worry about funding for the LCR.

    Has anyone ever studied what percentage of military members are LGBT? I know that in many ways military demographics reflect those of the general population, but here it could reasonably be expected to differ. And of course the young age of recruits, who may be closeted, affects things. I also wonder whether the number of LGBT members increased or fell after the introduction of DADT (excluding those discharged).

    Obviously I realize that such a study would be nearly impossible to conduct given that service members have been forced to lie. I'm just wondering if there are rough estimates.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 6, 2011 5:41:18 PM

  10. I like that comment: don't thank Obama. The Court did what it did because (a) repeal that Obama signed is proceeding steadily and (b) Obama's DOJ just filed a brief in Golinkski arguing that the govt has to meet impossibly high standard to justify making distinctions based on sexual orientation.

    Those are the reasons this court reversed itself.

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jul 6, 2011 5:46:39 PM

  11. As usual, Prof Arthur Leonard has the best account:

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jul 6, 2011 5:49:39 PM

  12. That scream you heard was Obama, Inc., being bitten in the ass when the Circuit Court quoted their own statements on applying "heightened scrutiny" to DOMA while refusing to apply it to DADT. Hypocrisy much? Now Obama has a SECOND chance to do the right thing—READ keep his promises to gay troops rather than to Pentagon homohaters—by NOT appealing this ruling. And for any who don't understand: if this ruling is NOT upheld there was NOTHING in the bill passed last December that would prevent a future President/Congress from banning gays in the military again even after it's FINALLY lifted this time.

    As for Servicemembers United, they jumped the shark last week when they called for toasts in honor of gone-too-late SECDEF Gates. Do they think it was a DIFFERENT Robert Gates who was the architect of the charade that finds DADT still the law AND still being enforced against gays who WANT to stay in 2 1/2 years into Obama's Presidency...and a DIFFERENT Robert Gates who insisted that the Obama DOJ attack the LCR ruling?????

    As for SLDN, it's been worthless since Aubrey Sarvis took over and became a part of the problem not the solution—telling the press after Obama was elected that he need do nothing about DADT his first year in office AND DEFENDING him for not issuing a stop loss order AND JOINING HRC all of last year in NOT putting any pressure on Obama but instead only focusing on Congress. And, yes, Sarvis, too proclaimed Gates a Hero for the Gays last week.

    Posted by: | Jul 6, 2011 5:57:53 PM

  13. And, regretfully, BullyBoy, while I eagerly went to your link to Prof. Leonard's comments, I was disappointed in how much they were distorted by Obama Machine talking points, misplaced trust in the man who has refused to treat DADT the way he FINALLY is DOMA, and outdated information. For the one thing SLDN remains good for is reporting on what their clients are telling them, and as recently as last week they said that they have clients who have been recommended for discharge despite WANTING to stay in the military and "scores of clients" currently under investigation.

    A halt to the ban last year would have "disrupted the services" MY ASS! Shame on you, Prof.

    Posted by: | Jul 6, 2011 6:05:53 PM

  14., your comments are right on. Discrimination is discrimination, whether it's committed by Republicans or Democrats. The only people that we Americans--particularly we Gay Americans--should be praising are those who 1) did not commit discrimination at all and 2) spoke out against discrimination. Obama and Gates enforced DADT to the hilt against many innocent Americans. Moreover, not only is Obama continuing and will continue to enforce DADT despite the Ninth Circuit reinstating the injunction--for example, the Military today still refuses to re-access me solely because I am Gay despite my demand that they do so--but he has done nothing and will do nothing to remedy the harm that their unconstitutional discrimination has wreaked on many innocent Gay servicemembers. I'm not even talking about the return of lost wages and promotions, which is warranted but will require a Congressional fight. I'm talking about crimes and wrongs committed against Gay servicemembers that were condoned and never investigated and punished. I'm talking about secondary injuries, such as servicemembers being given General Discharges instead of Honorable Discharges, merely because they were discharged under DADT. We shouldn't be thanking anyone for stopping their discrimination against us. We should be kicking them in the ass for discriminating against us at all. The notion that change only comes about through such pandering and half-assing as Obamites claim was necessary is precisely why discrimination exists in the first place.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Jul 6, 2011 7:53:48 PM

  15. Right on, James

    Posted by: Roger Ramjet | Jul 6, 2011 8:03:53 PM

  16. Someone here wrote:

    "Now Obama has a SECOND chance to do the right thing—READ keep his promises to gay troops rather than to Pentagon homohaters—by NOT appealing this ruling"

    Why on earth this president tries to please the 70-year-old homo haters in the Defense Department is beyond me. Is he afraid they're gonna kick him off the White House? I'm hoping Obama knows that he only answers to the general electorate on election day. This is one time I wish I were in Obama's shoes. I would force the bigots at the Defense Dept. to halt all gay discharges immediately. Seriously, I would say it to their face: "I don't care that you don't like me for president. I am here because the American people elected me to be chief commander of the armed forces and your boss. Now move your fat a** and do what I tell you or it's you who's going to get discharged."

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 6, 2011 9:20:29 PM

  17. DADT for gays now, marriage next. Civil rights for everyone!
    POLL: Is the appeals court right to order the government to end DADT?

    Posted by: Zadoc Paet | Jul 6, 2011 10:37:15 PM

  18. Mark@ I hope Obma uses your very words (he should read them) and kicks ass.

    Posted by: uffda | Jul 7, 2011 1:28:08 AM

  19. @james E Pietrangelo : Quite right......the State has committed institutionalised discrimination in breach of the constitutional right of the military members discharged under DADT.
    I repeat what I said over the last few years ;a case must be pursued for loss of income, loss of promotion, reinstatement or compensation in lieu, general damages, extra expenditure caused by discharge and as you say compensation for a discharge which was based on bias.
    The State has maliciously pursued a law based solely based on majority bias......not only is there shame on the institutions which enforced it there is also a duty to make right the years of bigotry which underpinned the policy.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 7, 2011 3:52:18 AM

  20. Well, though I'm disappointed in Obama not taking a more aggressive stand, imagine the alternative with a republican in the White House. NO REPEAL OF DADT, it would have been vetoed last December. Think about it.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 7, 2011 8:20:02 AM

  21. "How about giving some credit to the Log Cabin Republicans? Not all Republicans are evil, and not all Democrats are our friend."

    Definitely credit to the LCR for the success of this lawsuit. Credit given where credit due. Less credit for their history of support of Republicans who lack pro-gay voting records. No credit to the vast majority of Republicans in office who remain completely anti-gay. Unfortunately, the LCRs are not as successful at lobbying their Republican friends (who, unlike most Democrats, do not support DADT repeal) as they are at winning lawsuits.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 7, 2011 10:15:19 AM

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