The Defense Department’s top lawyers have told troops that the military will comply with a court order to allow gays to serve openly. In the meantime, the Obama administration is about to ask the judge in the case to stay her order pending an appeal.
An e-mail sent Thursday by the military’s Judge Advocate Generals is the first acknowledgment from the Pentagon that it plans to abide by the ruling. Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters the military “will of course obey the law.” He said any changes were effective Tuesday when the ruling was issued.
Separately, a lawyer in the case and a person in the government said the administration would ask the federal judge to allow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law to continue in force pending an appeal of her order to end it.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will ask a federal judge to allow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law on gays in the military to continue in force pending an appeal of her order to end it, a lawyer in the case and a person in the government familiar with the discussions said Thursday.
Lawyer Dan Woods said his client, Log Cabin Republicans, which won the ruling on Tuesday, has been notified that the Justice Department “will appeal and seek a stay later today.” That word was confirmed by the person in the government knowledgeable about the administration’s discussions.
The law bans gay or lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif., ordered the military to immediately suspend and discontinue any investigation or other proceeding to dismiss gay service members under the law.
The government source said the delay in responding to the judge’s order resulted because the Obama White House weighed in on the Justice Department’s handling of the case.
This person, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s internal deliberations, said a couple of White House lawyers did not want to seek a court order that would temporarily suspend the judge’s ruling.
The source said the process was back on track and that court papers seeking the stay will be filed.
Julie Watson reported from San Diego, Calif.