The problem with that question is that even the White House and the Pentagon don’t seem to know, but let’s take a stab.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled this week. She gave the Department of Justice 60 days to file notice of appeal — and the government’s attorneys are expected to do so imminently. Along with that, DoJ is likely to request a stay in the ruling until its appeals are exhausted, but that’s yet to happen.
Which means, for all intents and purposes, DADT is dead right now.
Except: The Pentagon is sending mixed messages about whether they’re going to hold up that court ruling. Despite a worldwide injunction against DADT, gays are being turned away at recruitment offices. And while Obama says the law is discriminatory, even his press secretary doesn’t know if he thinks it’s unconstitutional, and he continues saying he cannot, “with the stroke of a pen,” kill the law.
Which means he’s sticking with his strategy of legislative repeal. Except that effort appeals stalled in the Senate, and wholly unlikely if Republicans pick up any addition seats in November.
But: The Pentagon indicated in an internal memo that all military officers must immediately halt DADT investigations and dismissals in compliance with the judge’s order. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed “the Department of Defense will of course obey the law.” That is, DADT is dead to Defense Department. Until: DoJ decides to appeal the ruling.
Which, um, DoJ says it is going to do. Which means the Pentagon will, uh, heed DoJ’s appeal and ignore the ruling?
That part is unclear. So unclear, then, that no gay soldier who wants to avoid discharge should come out. Which is the same place we were when all of this confusion began.