Military Now Accepting Openly Gay Recruits

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U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips has denied the requested emergency stay on her order barring enforcement of "don't ask don't tell," and the Pentagon has told recruiters that they may now accept openly gay individuals looking to serve. Of course, the issue of gays in the military is not yet completely settled: Congress has not changed the law, and Phillips's ruling could still be overturned by a higher court.

  • Good Implementation  "I have to tip my hat to the military for putting these policies into place quickly, after an initial lag," writes liberal David Dayen at Firedoglake. "They also are mindful that the law can change, and as such, both DoD and outside groups like Servicemembers Legal Defense Network are warning soldiers and recruits that they are at risk if the government gets a stay on the injunction against DADT."
  • Tricky Choice for Those Joining, Though, points out law professor Ann Althouse. If those openly gay join now and the ruling is reversed, "then they'd kick you right back out again. You'll have given them the evidence to do it." ("This could get complicated," agrees Politico's Ben Smith.) On the other hand, she muses, "it will, I think, make it harder to revoke the policy, so it is perhaps altruistic for a gay person to sign up now and be honest."
  • What Happens Now  "The Administration's next step, presumably," explains SCOTUSblog's top legalese translator Lyle Denniston, "will be to ask the Ninth Circuit for what is called an administrative stay, to postpone [the judge's] ruling until after the Circuit Court can act on a plea that it formally put her injunction on hold.  Because the government's lawyers have contended that the delay issue is an urgent one, they presumably will move rapidly in the Circuit Court." He also points out that "the government already has filed its appeal" to the original ruling.
  • Obama's Not Helping Himself, Here, decides Salon's Alex Pareene, who thinks the president's "preference for results to be achieved only through the 'correct' process"--which Obama views, in this case, to be the legislature--"is killing him politically with his supporters and gaining him nothing from his opponents."
  • Anti-DADT Activist Re-enlists  Dan Choi, the officer who famously came out on Rachel Maddow's show and was promptly discharged, announced his intention on Twitter to reenlist in Times Square. "Unfortunately," relates New York Magazine's Dan Amira, the Marines rejected him, "not because he's gay, though, but because he's too old. Someday, old people. Someday."
  • What It Feels Like to Be Back  Choi, unfazed, signed up for the army instead. "They didn't disintegrate in there," he joked--"unit cohesion is doing just fine." Here's part of his statement upon enlisting, with video below.
What's most important is for all of the soldiers that do want to go back, for all the soldiers that want to return to duty--we're still in a time of war and soldiers are still needed. Able-bodied patriotic Americans regardless of their orientation are eligible to come on back and sign up to serve their country openly, honestly, with integrity--acknowledging their partners, acknowledging their families and their lives, as full citizens. And I encourage everyone else to do that. Being in there today was absolutely exciting, absolutely vindicating, validating of our purity of service--pure idealism--why somebody sacrifices, stands up, raises their right hand to enlist or be an officer in the armed forces. ... I think today is a great day that we can all celebrate not only for gay people in America but for the military, people in the armed forces, for all of all America.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.