In response to the panel's ruling, the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group that filed the lawsuit against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, can now appeal it to the full 9th Circuit appellate court and or make an emergency application directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dan Woods, an attorney with White & Case who represents the Log Cabin Republicans, said the appeal would continue and he raised the possibility of seeking emergency relief from the nation's highest court.
"We will continue to fight on for the constitutional rights of these Americans and look forward to a favorable decision on the merits of the appeal," Woods said in a statement. "Meanwhile, we will discuss the court's order with our client to determine whether we will ask for a review of the order by the U.S. Supreme Court."
In Monday's ruling, the judges said they had to weigh the harm of continuing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy against the potential harm in forcing the military to drop the policy before it is ready.
"We conclude that the government's colorable allegations that the lack of an orderly transition in policy will produce immediate harm and precipitous injury are convincing," the ruling said. "Colorable" means the court believes the allegations have a reasonable chance of being found valid.
"We also conclude that the public interest in ensuring orderly change of this magnitude in the military -- if that is what is to happen -- strongly militates in favor of a stay," the ruling said.
AARP Pride Information and Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People, Families and Allies - AARP