Just two weeks after a major victory in passing same-sex marriage legislation in New York, gay rights advocates won again in a San Francisco federal appeals court on Wednesday. A panel of three judges in the 9th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Pentagon must immediately halt the practice of discharging openly gay members of the military. The ruling comes six months after President Barack Obama called for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell policy" in December. According to the Associate Press, "The Pentagon is preparing to certify that it is ready to welcome gay military personnel."
The decision on the lawsuit filed by a gay rights group coincides with mounting pressure placed on the Obama administration to keep its word on the DADT repeal. Indeed, The Advocate reported last week on four airmen requested discharges in the face of inaction on DADT repeal over the past several weeks. Citing the Advocate story, In a Sunday staff editorial, The New York Times wrote:
Time has run out on the use of “don’t ask, don’t tell” for these kinds of discharges. One of the points of repeal is to begin to build a military culture in which no one feels the need to request a discharge because of intolerance. That may take time, but the best way to start is for Mr. Panetta and other military leaders to wipe official discrimination from the books in the next few weeks. Then they can lead the painstaking effort that will be needed to repair the emotional damage it has caused.
The timeline for effectively getting rid of DADT, though, remains unclear.