Former army Lt. Dan Choi
The Pentagon has issued an order allowing openly gay soldiers to apply to join the US military, but noted that the policy may be reversed at any time.
This after Federal District Court Judge Virginia Phillips denied the US government’s request that she “stay” her injunction earlier this month that ordered the military to stop enforcing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gay service members.
Phillips said that the law was unconstitutional.
The government has warned that it will appeal her ruling in a higher court which could see the judge’s order suspended.
It further told recruiters to “manage expectations” and advise openly gay candidates that while they could apply to join, their applications would likely be rejected if Phillips’ ruling is reversed.
On Tuesday, former army Lt. Dan Choi, who was dismissed from the military for being gay and has since become an activist against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, applied to rejoin the military at the Times Square recruiting station in New York.
“In the recruiting station. Apparently I’m too old for the Marines! Just filled out the Army application,” he tweeted.
LGBT rights groups advised caution and urged current gay service members not to come out.
“A higher court is likely to issue a hold on the injunction by Judge Phillips very soon. The bottom line: if you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon,” said Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
The Obama administration supports the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ but only through lawmakers ending the policy in Congress and not through the courts.