US military ends gay ban

2010-10-20 08:46
Washington - The US military is ready to accept openly gay recruits for the first time in the country's history, officials said on Tuesday, as a judge upheld an order ending a controversial ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces.

But the military will tell potential recruits that the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" rule could still be reinstated depending on the outcome of pending court decisions, the Pentagon said.

"Recruiters have been given guidance, and they will process applications for applicants who admit they are openly gay or lesbian," spokesperson Cynthia Smith told AFP.

But she added: "Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants' expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court's decision of the "don't ask, don't tell" law/policy may occur."

Last week a federal judge in California, Virginia Phillips, ordered the government to immediately suspend the rule, which requires gay troops to keep quiet about their sexuality or face expulsion.

And late on Tuesday the same judge rejected a request by the Justice Department for a stay that would suspend the legal order until an expected appeal can be heard.

Judge: Evidence ineffective

In a six-page decision, she rejected the argument that suspending the ban could harm military readiness.

"They had the chance to introduce evidence to that effect at trial," Phillips said. "Defendants did not do so. The evidence they belatedly present now does not meet their burden to obtain a stay."

Gay rights' groups hailed the new ruling - and urged Washington not to appeal it further.

"Judge Phillips once again did the right thing for our national security. We call on the administration not to appeal her decision," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese.

The "don't ask, don't tell" rule "is an unconscionable law that forces brave lesbian and gay Americans to serve in silence ... The law is detrimental, not only to our national security, but also to the core American value of fairness," he added.

Effect for Obama govt

Although President Barack Obama has called for scrapping the 1993 law and tried to persuade Congress to end the ban, the court order has put his administration in a bind as it tries to carry out a review of the issue.

Obama had ordered a year-long assessment of how ending the ban would affect military readiness, effectiveness and unit cohesion, which is due to be completed on December 1.

In a memo sent out last week to secretaries of the US Army, Navy and Air Force, Under Secretary of Defence for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley said the Defence Department "will abide by the terms of the injunction" from the federal judge.

He ordered the military's department secretaries to "ensure immediate compliance" with his memo.

"It remains the policy of the Department of Defence not to ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline," he added.

Opponents: Harms national security

Opponents of the ban argue it violates the rights of gay service members and has harmed national security by forcing out some 14 000 qualified troops.

Advocates of the "don't ask, don't tell" rule, including the outgoing head of the US Marine Corps, say it ensures "unit cohesion", and that changing the law during wartime could prove disruptive.

If the ban is lifted for good, the American military would be following the example of other US allies, including Britain and Israel, which have reported no serious problems since allowing gays to serve openly in uniform.

Polls have shown a majority of Americans support ending the ban, but Republican lawmakers, including former presidential candidate John McCain, opposed the most recent attempt to change the rule.
 

Read more on:    us military  |  us  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is hard to keep some sort of balance when the natural rhythm has flown out the window. The best thing to do is try not to keep...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.