The Southern California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has given the Obama Administration ten days to decide whether to appeal last week's ruling that ordered the Pentagon to halt enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," reports the AP.
The three-judge merits panel of the 9th Circuit said after reviewing briefs from both parties in the case, that it appears the government is not prepared to defend the policy's constitutionality. The order was not signed by the judges and it was not known if the three jurists were the same ones who ruled last week on stopping its enforcement.
Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods said the court is forcing the government to take a stand. "Now the government is not going to be allowed to have it both ways anymore," Woods said. "The court is saying either fish or cut bait."
DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department is reviewing the judge's order and had no immediate comment.
On September 9 2010, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued her landmark ruling when she declared the 1993 law unconstitutional after a two-week trial in Riverside. Ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v the United States of America, Judge Phillips said the policy violated the First and Fifth Amendment rights of gay and lesbians.
For a brief two-day window last October between Phillips' injunction and its appeal, the Pentagon instructed military recruiters to accept gay and lesbian applicants. The Defense Department has said that it will honor the latest federal appeals court ruling. But there are reports that some gay and lesbian potential recruits are being turned away—such as former Army Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, who was discharged under DADT.