Washington, Oct.21 (ANI): A US federal appeals court has temporarily stalled the landmark court decision of allowing openly gay recruits to be accepted into the military.
In response to an emergency request from the government, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, issued a one-page order late in the day allowing the Pentagon to continue enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bars openly gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.
The decision, which returns the law to the status quo before a Federal District Court judge in California prohibited its enforcement, will be in effect while the appeals court considers whether to issue a longer stay, until February, when the Ninth Circuit will hear the full appeal.
According to the New York Times, a decision about the longer stay could occur as early as next week.
The stay almost certainly means the government will go back to enforcing the law as it did before the lower court issued an injunction against it.
The stay was issued after military recruiting stations got a brief taste of what life might be like in a world without "don't ask, don't tell."
Many consider the decision by the military to begin accepting openly gay applicants before the stay as a landmark moment in American history.
But for William Kelley, a young man thinking about enlisting, it was just an overdue act of common sense.
A dozen potential recruits interviewed in the capital on Wednesday echoed his comments. The issue, they said, was one of basic fairness.
They said people should be allowed to be themselves no matter where they work. Society - at least for many young Americans - had moved on, and it was time for the military to follow suit.
The U.S. military has welcomed the Pentagon's decision to end the controversy over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which it says will allow recruiters more freedom when it comes to selection of gay recruits.
"Recruiters have been given guidance, and they will process applications for applicants who admit they are openly gay or lesbian," the New York Daily News quoted a spokeswoman Pentagon, as saying while announcing the new rules.
The policy, however, has reportedly come with a number of cautions and caveats for young gays considering a military career depending on the outcomes of a government lawsuit against DADT and the stalled Congressional effort to repeal the law.
Gay rights groups have warned recruits that the rules might change again, and cautioned against open declarations of sexual orientation, but some activist groups are planning to send members to recruiting stations to test the Pentagon's new policy.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, called the new policy on gay recruits "a welcome step but it should be permanent. I still believe Congress must step up to the plate and repeal this corrosive (DADT) policy."
Last week, Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California issued an injunction banning enforcement of the law and ordered the military to immediately "suspend and discontinue" any investigations or proceedings to dismiss service members.
In 1981, the tradition was codified as the military banned service by gays, and that policy was modified in 1993 by DADT. (ANI)