Although the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the United States government to immediately halt Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, military recruiters across the nation seem to be dragging their feet, and Obama’s Justice Department has asked the court for a stay on their order “by the close of business” today. (So, within the next few hours or so.)
Given that the President used a lot of political capital to sign DADT out of law last December, and that he’s used that historic occasion as cover for not taking up the other major gay civil rights issue right now, it’s as perplexing as ever why he’s still fighting this legally.
Of course, one reason is obvious. The President has a process in place for repealing the law which has not been completed, and he doesn’t want to be upstaged by the courts in that process. But this reasoning falls apart when you consider the Department of Justice has given up defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, because it doesn’t believe in its constitutionality. Why is the DOJ so bent on defending DADT’s constitutionality and keeping it in place for now when, according their own administration, it will be gone entirely within a month or two?
Meanwhile, it’s not like having the law still on the books is without negative consequences. As Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly points out:
DADT does remain in effect, with administrative separation board hearings proceeding and discharges continuing under DADT. Although the emergency order states there only has been one DADT discharge since the passage of the repeal act, the Air Force has confirmed three discharges and one resignation related to 10 U.S.C. 654 in 2011.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 15, 2011