Is “don’t ask, don’t tell” dead?

According to USA Today, Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in response to the October 12 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.

Judge Virginia Phillips on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.

A Pentagon memo signed by Clifford Stanley, undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, said gay recruits can begin the process to join but should be told what could happen later because “a certain amount of uncertainty now exists about the future of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law. During the process, they (recruiters) will say, ‘You have to be mindful that this could be overturned.’” he told the paper.

The Marine Corps also weighed in, issuing a directive to recruiters Tuesday that said, “Homosexual conduct, by itself, is not currently considered a bar to accession.”

Advocates for repealing the policy warned gays interested in serving to be careful. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network commented, “If you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon.”

General James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, has said most Marines oppose reversing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which permits gays to serve as long as they are not open about their homosexuality.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a task force to investigate the consequences of repealing the policy. Results are due December 1.

About The Author

Eiko Watanabe is a Blast staff writer in New York

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