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SAN FRANCISCO-The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the U.S. Government to immediately cease enforcing the ban on openly gay personnel in the military. This ends the 17 year old policy of discharging members of the military based on their sexual orientation.
The order has been lifted on the hold placed on a lower court that originally overturned the “Don’t ask Don’t Tell’ policy. Military spokesman, Col. Dave Lapan stated that the Pentagon will comply with the order and take immediate steps to inform all commanders in the field. The Pentagon has been in preparation and the Armed Forces have been training for a few months preparing for the lifting of the ban. The Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. are basically done with their training and the Army insists that theirs will be complete by the 15th of this month.
Although the stay has been lifted, a hearing will be held on August 29th, the appeals court scheduled the hearing to assertain the validity of the lower courts argument.
Different organizations are warning that gay personnel should abstain from declaring their orientation and others wishing to enlist should do the same. Personnel discharged under the ban should also wait. They cite the eight day period last fall just before the injuction where 14,000 discharged personnel tried to re-enlist unsuccessfully. They recommend abstaining from any further action until the government declared officially that they will abide by the ruling.
The various Chiefs of the Armed Services are scheduled to submit their recommendations to the Leon Panetta by Friday. Once that is complete, if it feels that the lifting of the ban will have no effect on the readiness of the military, they have 60 days to fully implement.