While the LGBTQ community gained a short-lived victory from the overturn of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy earlier this month, a federal appeals court has already reversed the repeal.
On Oct. 14 — two days after California Judge Virginia Phillips declared the policy unconstitutional — the Dept. of Justice requested a stay of execution (a court order to suspend a judgment) on her decision. Although Phillips refused the Obama Administration’s request on Oct. 19, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay of Phillips’ injunction on Oct. 20 with the requirement that new arguments be submitted by Oct. 25 for their consideration.
Last night, new briefings were submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court to await its decision whether to lift or make permanent the stay and render Phillips’ decision defunct by federal law.
Aaron Belkin, director of UCSB’s Palm Center — a political think-tank that studies sexual orientation and military relations — said Judge Phillips cited research conducted by his center as proof that openly gay service members do not affect the cohesion of the military units they serve.
While the status of “DADT” currently hangs in the balance, UCSB’s Palm Center Assistant Director Indra Lusero said the policy is ready for repeal.
“Regardless of whether the courts, the administration or the legislature ultimately decides the matter for good, the fact is the policy and its rationale is unraveling,” Lusero said.
Lusero said that although the eight-day lift of the ban yielded no negative effects, openly gay service members are once again prohibited from enlisting.
“The Palm Center has submitted a [Freedom of Information Act] request that the Pentagon document all consequences of the injunction during the 200-plus hours gays were serving openly,” Lusero said. “We have not yet recorded any negative consequences.”
Stefan Geyer, a fourth-year political science and Spanish major, said he is proud that UCSB is associated with such an influential organization.
“It’s exciting and interesting that research being conducted here is so powerful in national policy-making,” Geyer said. “It brings the message home that research being done here actually makes a difference and is decisive in what’s going on.”