Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Does the Military Accept the Gays Now? It Depends on Where You Enlist.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the United State...Image via WikipediaTwo separate reports show that despite the ruling last week of the 9th Circuit Court stating that the Department of Defense must cease enforcement of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on the grounds that it violates the 14th amendment, some military recruiters are still turning away gays and lesbians.

News10 in San Diego brings us the story of Kris Longaker, whose military career was ended after just five months when she was outed by a fellow soldier. She attempted to re-enlist on Friday.
Around noon, Lonagker walked in for her long-awaited moment. Minutes later, she came back out disappointed.
"[I'm] very frustrated," she said.
She said the local recruiters had yet to get word from the Pentagon. The California Army National Guard told 10News the memo was going out later in the afternoon.
Advocates expect hundreds of discharged local troops will try to re-enlist. Longaker said she will be one of them.
"I'm looking forward to be able to serve in the military and being able to hold my girlfriend's hand… and nobody can say anything," she said.
About 17,000 openly gay members of the military were forced out of the service because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Later Monday, Longaker received word from local recruiters that she could go back to the office and begin filling out paperwork. "You can take the girl out of the army, but you can't take the army out of the girl," she said. "I have no doubts I want to do this. I want to serve." Local Navy and Marine recruiters also confirmed they have begun accepting openly gay recruits during the application process.

Meanwhile, Gayapolis reported Sunday that Sgt. Jim Pietrangelo, who was arrested along with Dan Choi for chaining himself to the White House fence last year, for protesting his DADT discharge, says he was turned away when he inquired about re-enlisting on Friday:
"Not to beat a dead horse, but you should know that there is a disconnect between the Pentagon's late-breaking announcement that it will start accepting Gays into the Military and the reality on the ground. Fifteen minutes ago (4:45 p.m. EST), I called the Los Angeles Central Army Recruiting station back--one of the stations I had previously been rejected by because I am Gay--and they in no uncertain terms stated that they cannot enlist Gays and have received no change in policy from the Pentagon to do so." 
The problem is that the Pentagon hasn't made it clear yet what it intends to do about the ruling. The judges in the case issued an order Monday telling the government to make it clear whether it intends to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court or let it stand.

Via the AP:
SAN DIEGO -- A federal appeals court that has called for the immediate halt of the military's ban on openly gay troops issued an order Monday requiring the U.S. government to state whether it will continue to defend the constitutionality of the policy in court
Monday's order comes less than a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Obama administration to immediately cease enforcing "don't ask, don't tell," which could speed up its repeal.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the gay rights organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, against the Department of Justice. The rights group last year persuaded a lower court judge to declare the ban unconstitutional.
The lawsuit that went to trial last year put the Obama administration in the awkward position of defending a policy it opposes.
DOJ attorneys have said they are defending the policy in court as they do with any law that is being challenged. They also have said the issue should be decided by Congress and not the courts.
The three-judge merits panel of the 9th Circuit said after reviewing briefs from both parties in the case, that it appears the United States is not prepared to defend the policy's constitutionality.
The order was not signed by the judges and it was not known if the three jurists were the same justices who ruled last week on stopping the policy's enforcement.
Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods said the court is forcing the government to take a stand on the issue.
"The government has been trying to have it both ways and now the government is not going to be allowed to have it both ways anymore," Woods said. "The court is saying either fish or cut bait."

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