The Obama administration objected this week to immediately ending the military’s ban on openly gay service members, saying that an injunction to stop the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy might harm military readiness in a time of war.
In a filing with a federal court in California, the Justice Department on Thursday said that the judge who struck down the policy as unconstitutional should not enforce that ruling with a military-wide injunction banning the discharge of gay service members.
“A court should not compel the Executive to implement an immediate cessation … without regard for any effect such an abrupt change might have on the military’s operations, particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe,” DOJ lawyers said in their filing.
On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and said the policy doesn’t help military readiness, and instead has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.
Phillips agreed with plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Log Cabin Republicans — a group of 19,000 current and former military members, and indicated she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the challenge filed by the Justice Department, and said it doesn’t diminish President Barack Obama’s desire to repeal the DADT policy, but instead shows why Congress has to act to end the “misguided policy.”
The White House said Obama was disappointed when a Senate majority voted to proceed with the National Defense Authorization Act, but a Republican-led filibuster stopped the bill from going through by putting up a 60 vote wall.
“We are deeply disappointed with this Administration’s decision,” says Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. “Yet again, the Obama Administration has failed to live up to its campaign promise to repeal this unconstitutional law for the service members of this country.”