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Supreme Court refuses to hear bid to block 'don't ask, don't tell'

Supreme Court justices decline to take up request by the Log Cabin Republicans to reinstate a federal judge's injunction against the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on gays in the military.

By Staff writer / November 12, 2010



Washington

The Supreme Court refused Friday to take up a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, asking the justices to reinstate a federal judge’s order blocking enforcement of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

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The action means the Defense Department can continue to enforce the disputed policy banning openly gay individuals from serving in the military pending the outcome of an ongoing legal battle over the measure’s constitutionality.

US District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled in September that the 17-year policy violated the rights of gay and lesbian service members to be treated equally by the military. In October, the Riverside, Calif.-based judge issued a worldwide injunction blocking Pentagon enforcement of the policy.

The injunction was in place for a week before an appeals court panel ordered that it be lifted. That action effectively reinstated the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” for the period of time necessary for the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to hear the government’s appeal of Judge Phillips’s decision in the underlying case. Oral arguments in the appeal are set for February.

“Log Cabin Republicans are disappointed that the Supreme Court decided to maintain the status quo with regards to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but we aren’t surprised,” Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a statement. “We are committed to pursuing every avenue in the fight against this failed and unconstitutional policy.”

Military study

Although President Obama has said he is opposed to the antigay military policy, his administration has argued in court that repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be undertaken by Congress rather than by judicial decision, and that the military be given enough time for a gradual transition.

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