This, of course, is why the Pentagon wants that federal judge who found “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional to stay her order during the appeal. If the ruling is reversed by the Ninth Circuit or the Supremes, any openly gay recruit who signs up now could end up being discharged later. They’re in legal limbo, in other words, in which case why not maintain DADT until there’s a final resolution?
In fact, practically speaking, that’s exactly how most gay recruits will end up playing it.
Following last week’s court decision striking down the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Pentagon on Tuesday made clear that it had told recruiters they must accept gay applicants — marking the first time in U.S. history that the military is accepting openly gay recruits…
While activists were going to enlist, gay rights groups were continuing to tell service members to avoid revealing that they are gay, fearing they could find themselves in trouble should the law be reinstated…
Earlier Tuesday, Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told reporters that top-level guidance has been issued to recruiting commands informing them that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule has been suspended for now.
Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium could be reversed at any point.
Dan Choi, probably the most high-profile gay soldier in America at this point thanks to his advocacy against DADT, took the opportunity today to try to reenlist after being discharged a few years ago:
A crowd of photographers and reporters gathered around the door, and they, in turn, were ringed by tourists and bystanders.
Mr. Choi, who emerged from the recruiting station wearing a dark dress shirt, blue jeans and a black pea coat, said “they’re processing me.”
He added that the recruiters were not rattled by his request, and poked fun at the oft-repeated argument that repealing don’t ask, don’t tell will affect unit cohesion in the military,
“They didn’t disintegrate in there,” he said. “Their unit cohesion is doing just fine.”
The executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, who’s also an Army reservist, was at Fort Huachuca last week when the news broke about the judge’s DADT ruling and claims that no one batted an eye. As for why the court likely won’t stay its order against the policy, I think Ed had it right a few days ago: The judge knows that the appeal could take a few years, and if in the meantime gay recruits are admitted and things run smoothly, the Pentagon will likely end up deciding to abandon the policy notwithstanding whatever the appellate courts say. Assuming, that is, that the policy isn’t dissolved by Congress first: Remember, that Pentagon review of DADT is due in the next few months and if it recommends dropping the policy, that’ll be all the cover many Republicans need to vote against it.
The NYT marks the occasion today by running an open letter from a gay Marine, who’s also nonchalant about the revolutionary new policy. Exit quotation:
So let’s be clear: there isn’t going to be a mass influx of rabid, anti-military degenerates lining up at recruiting offices. This is not about letting gays into the military. It never was. This is about being true to the values of every warrior who wears our country’s uniform. Upholding the sanctity of integrity and a deeply rooted sense of camaraderie are central to who we are as war fighters.