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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Reinstated
by Appeals Court

BY ERIN ROACH                                                                                               ©2010 Baptist Press

The U.S. Department of Defense was permitted to enforce Don't Ask, Don't Tell after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay Oct. 20 of a lower court's order suspending the military's policy on homosexual service.

The U.S. Department of Justice had filed an emergency appeal with the Ninth Circuit on behalf of the Pentagon after U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled Oct. 12 that the law is unconstitutional and enforcement of it must cease.

"The order is stayed temporarily in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented," a three-judge panel stated late Wednesday, adding that both sides have until Oct. 25 to file additional paperwork.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, noted that the Ninth Circuit is the most liberal appeals court in the country, yet the judges ruled against the immediate suspension of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"This shows that even the Ninth Circuit has rational moments when it comes to judicial hubris and imperialism, and they have wisely stayed this dangerous and rash decision until they have time to adjudicate it and come to a decision," Land told Baptist Press. "So the military has a temporary respite from the judicial attempts at social engineering with our nation's military. We should all be grateful."

In earlier comments to Baptist Press, Land said Don't Ask, Don't Tell has worked, "and we don't need to be experimenting with our armed forces when we're involved in two wars."

In a news release Oct. 21, the Defense Department said it supports the appeals court decision and wants time for a deliberative long-range look at any changes in Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"For the reasons stated in the government's submission, we believe a stay is appropriate," Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said.                    

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