The US military was ordered a halt on the policy of discharging gay service members by the federal court on Wednesday. The order came citing the impending demise of don't ask, don't tell and the Obama administration's increasing criticism of anti-gay laws.
The revocation of the don't ask, don't tell law has already been voted by the congress. The 1993 law barred military service by gays and lesbian members (those who disclose their sexual orientation). But, for the revocation of the law to come to effect, a Pentagon certificate was awaited, that would determine that the law would not interfere with military readiness or recruiting.
On Wednesday, however, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco - which had previously allowed the government to follow its own timetable - reinstated a federal judge's injunction that had briefly barred enforcement of the law last fall before it was suspended, a Sanfransisco Chronicle report said.
The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, said the three-member panel, which consisted of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, a Republican appointee, and Democratic appointees Kim Wardlaw and Richard Paez, according to the report.
The court said that most troops should be ready for the adoption of the new policy by midsummer, and also pointed out that the Obama administration lawyers have not defended the constitutionality of don't ask, don't tell, but argued only that courts should defer to congressional judgment on military matters.
The panel also pointed out Obama's increasing criticism of the laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. Previously in February, Obama withdrew legal support from a law that denied federal equality to homo-sexual couples. The decision was a celebration for Gay-rights advocates.