LGBT groups are angry and perplexed by news that the Obama administration will continue to defend the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gays and lesbians in the military in the courts while working on its repeal.
According to the Log Cabin Republicans, the US Department of Justice is filing an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals pleading with the court to reconsider its recent order suspending the law.
“This latest manoeuvre by the President continues a pattern of doublespeak that all Americans should find troubling. All this does is further confuse the situation for our men and women in uniform,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director, combat veteran and captain in the United States Army Reserve.
The confusing move comes after it was reported last week that the US military would start accepting gay and lesbian recruits.
“Let me be clear – the president is asking the court for the power to continue threatening servicemembers with investigation and discharge, and the right to turn away qualified Americans from military service for no reason other than their sexual orientation,” said Cooper.
“It is shameful that a president who has taken credit for opposing the policy is taking extreme measures to keep it on life support,” he added.
Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis also commented on the reports about the Department of Justice’s plans.
“At SLDN, we are frustrated by this last-minute filing, which could well add more delay and confusion for service members. This development only serves to underscore the need for immediate certification and finality,” he said.
While ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed in December last year by the US Senate, the law has remained in force until training personnel on the issue is complete and a report confirming that the repeal will not negatively affect the military is accepted by the US government.