Pentagon to Gay Troops: Stay in the Closet For Now

The Defense Department issued a memo today informing gay troops to stay in the closet even though the military has suspended enforcement of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy pending a government appeal.

On Tuesday, a federal district judge issued an injunction mandating that the military stop investigation and discharges of homosexual troops. Yesterday, however, the Department of Justice appealed that injunction and the corresponding decision. Though the Obama administration wants to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, it has argued that the policy should be ended through Congress, not the courts.

In the memo, the Defense Department said it would abide by the judge's injunction - though personnel chief Clifford Stanley added that "it is possible that a stay of the injunction could be issued very soon, perhaps in a matter of days. In that event, I will issue additional guidance."

He went on to instruct gay soldiers not to make their sexual preference known.

"In light of the appeal and the application for the stay, a certain amount of uncertainty now exists about the future of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law and policy," the memo says. "We note for Servicemembers that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court's decision be reversed."

Stanely adds that the Pentagon is "committed to the successful completion" of a review of the impact of repealing the policy, which is due December 1st. A bill before Congress would have allowed for repeal following the completion of that review and certification by the president and top defense officials, but a Senate Republican-led filibuster blocked the legislation last month.

Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.


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