Government likely to appeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ decision

WASHINGTON (RNN) - A California judge Tuesday ruled against the Obama administration's request to delay her decision to strike down "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" just as the Department of Defense announced it would allow openly gay individuals to join the military.

It is likely the government will appeal the ruling delivered by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips. The government instructed recruiters to warn applicants that reversal of the new policy might occur, placing them under the jurisdiction of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" once again.

Under the new guidelines, recruiters may not ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation. They are advised "to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline," said Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

The uncertainty did not seem to deter some individuals who might have otherwise been excluded from military service. Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate, was discharged from the Army after self-identifying as gay on a prime-time cable news show.

Choi waged a high-profile protest against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, handcuffing himself to the White House gates and enduring a weeklong hunger strike. On Tuesday, Choi once again made his feelings known to the world, tweeting his intentions to rejoin the service.

"Walking through Chelsea about to enlist; reminded of our beautiful diversity," Choi said. "This is what makes America worth defending."

Aside from the possibility of filing an appeal, the government is studying the long-term implications for the change in the law. A report prepared by Defense Secretary Robert Gates should be completed by Dec. 1 and will address plans for the transition as well as training guidelines.

"In the current environment with the stay, you don't have the time to go through all these processes and make sure you determine what effect this has on housing, benefits, training on individuals across the board," said Marine Corps spokesman Col. Dave Lapan.

Lapan hopes that the legislature will find a remedy to the situation, which is clouded in legal uncertainty, because it provides "the chance to study the impacts, to get the input from the force and to make adjustments and changes before an abrupt change in the law occurs."

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