A Republican gay rights group on Friday asked the U S Supreme Court to allow a California trial judge's order barring enforcement of the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving openly in the military to go back into effect.
Lawyers for Log Cabin Republicans asked the high court to vacate a 2-1 decision Monday by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals keeping "don't ask, don't tell" in place until it considers the government's appeal of the judge's decision declaring the policy unconstitutional.
The Log Cabin group argued that the 9th Circuit panel abused its discretion when it blocked US District Judge Virginia Phillips' order requiring the armed forces to allow openly gay Americans to enlist and serve.
It said the divided panel erred in accepting the Pentagon's claim that it needed more time to develop procedures for integrating gay service members and "gave no consideration whatsoever to the injury that will befall" while "don't ask, don't tell" is in place. The request was directed to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency motions from the 9th Circuit. Kennedy on Friday evening asked the Department of Justice to respond by 5 pm Wednesday. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has pledged to push the Senate to repeal the policy in the lame duck session before a new Congress is sworn in.
The policy was lifted for eight days last month after Phillips ruled that it violates the civil rights of gay Americans and issued an injunction barring the Pentagon from applying it. The Obama administration appealed and asked the appeals court to reinstate the ban until it could hear arguments on the broader constitutional issues next year.