The military is now accepting openly gay applicants!
Did everyone hear that?
The military’s 17-year old Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy prohibiting openly gay people from joining themilitary was deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips in September, when it came up in the case of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. Phillips’ ruling ordered the government “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding” started under DADT, according to conservative news source Baptist Press.
The Baptist Press reported that “Under the Pentagon’s latest directives, recruiters are not allowed to ask candidates whether they are homosexual as part of the application process, but if a candidate volunteers such information and otherwise qualifies under normal recruiting guidelines, the person’s application can be processed.”
Yesterday, Oct. 20, the Department of Justice responded to this ruling by submitting an emergency request to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell remain until the appeals process for the case is over. The Log Cabin Republicans (the plaintiffs in the case) have said they intend to file written opposition to this request, but according to MetroWeekly, “No oral arguments are expected at the Ninth Circuit for consideration of either request.”
Stay updated while the debate continues.
***Update: As reported in NPR, “A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday temporarily granted the U.S. government’s request for a freeze on the judge’s order.” However, “it was unclear what effect the temporary freeze would have on the Pentagon, which has already informed recruiters to accept openly gay recruits and has suspended discharge proceedings for gay service members.” So, the military seems to be in a state of confusion as to which orders to follow.
Legally, they should not be accepting openly gay people at the moment, although they were mandated TO allow them to sign up for a brief period. During this period Lt. Daniel Choi, and undoubtedly other openly gay men and women, re-enlisted, presenting a question of what will happen while the case is waiting for appeal. (Lt. Daniel Choi came out publicly on the Rachel Maddow Show in March 2009, and was then honorably discharged under DADT. He has since been active in the fight against DADT, and served as the Grand Marshal of the 41st Annual New York LGBT Pride March this summer. He re-enlisted in the US Army on October 19th.)