Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal or Appeal?
From CNN. To the diappointment of many gay rights advocates, including me, the Department of Justice has decided to appeal the ruling by a federal judge that the policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell must immediately end.
Washington (CNN) -- The Justice Department requested an emergency stay Thursday of a federal judge's injunction stopping enforcement of the military's policy that bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly.
Justice Department lawyers say they want the federal court in California to grant a stay of the injunction, which would remain in effect throughout the appeals process.
The government says the stay would allow for an orderly transition to a policy allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military.
Log Cabin Republicans, a gay organization challenging the current law, said it wasn't surprised by the appeal and will promptly oppose the government's proposed stay.
"If this stay is granted, justice will be delayed, but it will not be denied," Log Cabin deputy executive director Christian Berle said in a statement. "Meanwhile, we urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do what it takes in the lame duck session to end 'don't ask, don't tell' legislatively."
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Philips in California issued her injunction Tuesday.
Although President Barack Obama has stated his view that the current law is discriminatory, the administration also has said Congress, not the courts, should change the law allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the armed forces. The Justice Department says that it defends all laws of Congress in court.
"This is not a question of whether this policy will end. This policy will end, and on my watch," Obama said Thursday when asked about the issue at a town-hall-style meeting.
Meanwhile, senior military lawyers at the Department of Defense directed military lawyers to stop any proceedings related to "don't ask, don't tell," a Pentagon spokesman said.
On the surface, this seems like a slap in the face to the LGBT community, who has been patiently awaiting the repeal of this awful policy and has been pretty supportive of this President. However, President Obama may actually be advancing the cause by appealing now, rather than leaving future action open by anti-gay advocates. There are also good, necessary reasons to appeal based on separation of powers precedents and future implications. Basically, this is a standard and expected process and probably one that will help put DADT in the history books by the end of 2010. Confusing? Yes. Complicated? Yes.
Walter Dellinger, former Solicitor General under the Clinton administration, explains to Rachel Maddow the awkward legal path necessary to finally eliminate "Don't ask, don't tell" and how the White House can appeal the injunction against the policy while also opposing the policy in this interview. While still confusing, I think he puts things in perspective.
I just hope that this appeal of the repeal does not result in angry backlash from gay-rights supporters and the Demcoratic base via refusal to vote on November 2nd. Hopefully, word will spread that President Obama is looking at the big picture and the end game and may even be willing to take the fall for the good of the cause.