Airman’s DADT Discharge Suspended Following Court Ruling

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com July 08 2011 4:55 PM ET

In response to a federal appeals court’s Wednesday order barring further enforcement of “don’t ask, don’t’ tell,” a Pentagon official wrote Friday that the military will begin accepting enlistments “without regard to sexual orientation” and will “ensure immediate compliance” with the court ruling that prohibits further discharges under the policy.

Since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling earlier this week, one service member facing discharge under DADT told The Advocate that officials have halted his separation proceedings.

Airman 1st Class Justin Dailey said Friday that he had been served with discharge paperwork on June 9 after his sexual orientation came to the attention of his command. Dailey, 25, said he did not make a voluntary statement on his sexual orientation and was not seeking separation from the Armed Forces.

Stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Dailey said he was told on Thursday — one day after the ninth circuit’s order lifting the stay on U.S. district judge Virginia Phillips’s injunction against DADT — that his discharge proceedings had been suspended. “I had intended on fighting this tooth and nail,” Dailey said. “I’m happy I can proceed with my career and get back to work.”

Dailey’s account was confirmed by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has represented the airman in collaboration with his military defense attorney. SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes said that the military attorney had received notification via phone of Dailey’s discharge suspension but has not yet received specific written communication from Defense officials.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley wrote in a Friday memo to service branch chiefs, first reported by Metro Weekly, that “the reinstatement of [Phillips’s] injunction … is effective immediately.” Phillips issued the worldwide injunction against DADT in October in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.

According to court records, the Justice Department has not appealed the ninth circuit’s order as of Friday 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said via email Friday afternoon that there were no updates on an appeal decision.

SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement Friday, “[W]e urge the Pentagon to go further by suspending all investigations of service members that are currently ongoing, and confirm that the Department of Defense and Department of Justice are not preparing to appeal the court’s ruling.

“It’s imperative for service members, gay and straight, who have been living with ambiguity for far too long as this process has languished unnecessarily,” Sarvis said. “The time for clarity and finality is long overdue.”

President Obama said during a June 29 White House reception celebrating LGBT Pride Month that repeal would be certified in “weeks, not months,” though how the ninth circuit order will affect the certification schedule remains unknown.