What Will Happen With ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?’

 Post by Randall Ryder

After a federal judge issued an injunction against the military’s policy of "don’t ask, don’t tell," the military told all recruiters to accept openly gay recruits. The Justice Department, however, has appealed the judge’s ruling, so what will be the ultimate outcome?

The judge ruled that the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy was unconstitutional, ripping the policy on numerous accounts. First, the judge noted that the policy violates service members right to free speech–gay military members are discharged for revealing their sexuality. Second, the judge noted the policy has harmed recruiting and has led to dismissals of key service members which thereby reduces the effectiveness of the military. 

The Department of Justice filed legal briefs in an attempt to stop a federal judge from issuing the injunction. The Department of Justice puts President Obama in a tight position, as he has called for the repeal of the policy by Congress. The White House says that the Department of Justice is merely doing what they are supposed to be doing—defending an act of Congress that was lawfully passed.

Military recruiters have been told that the judge’s injunction could get reversed at any time. As a result, recruiters have been told to inform openly gay recruits that while their initial application could be accepted, they may also be denied if the policy changes while the application is processed.

So where does that leave things? Well, given the President’s stance, and comments from the Secretary of Defense that the military has agreed to end the policy—once they finish studying the best way to do—it seems like a foregone conclusion that the policy will end in the near future. Given those views, it seems somewhat odd that the Department of Justice is making an attempt to appeal the judge’s injunction. On the other hand, it makes sense that Department of Justice must make attempt to appeal a policy that was lawfully passed by Congress. Combined, however, it seems like a rather indirect route towards repealing the policy.

Suffice to say, given the groundswell of support for repealing the policy, it will come to an end. It may not even so much a question of when, but how. 

What do you think—how will the policy end?

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