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Air Force Halts DADT Actions; Cite Federal Injuction

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today an email was sent to Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers in the United States Air Force stating that until the Department of Justice makes a decision on the recent ruling by judge Virginia A. Phillips, the Air Force needs to abide by the district court injunction. The injunction said to "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding" related to DADT.

Army veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis described the memo.

"This is an extraordinarily positive development and we would anticipate each Judge Advocate General from all the branches would follow suit in providing similar legal guidance to their respective commands. This interim period is dangerous. We need to put the safety and well being of gay and lesbian service members first. Service members continue to remain vulnerable under DADT. The President needs to deliver on his promise to end the law this year. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more clear that the Obama Administration intends to seek a stay to this injunction and it is going to appeal the decision. DADT may well be in a state of flux. It will remain the law unless the U.S. Senate acts in December and we have certification by the White House and Pentagon shortly thereafter."

Warning to service members:

SLDN re-issued its warning to active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, to know they’re at risk. We have clients under investigation and facing discharge right now. We’ll be monitoring each case over the coming days. Anyone in the armed forces with questions or concerns should call our hotline or visit www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk.

Email from Richard C. Harding, The Judge Advocate General, U.S. Air Force:

Members of The Judge Advocate General’s Corps,

On 12 October 2010, a federal district judge of the Central District of California issued an injunction barring the enforcement or application of 10 USC 654, commonly known as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" statute. A copy is attached. At present, the United States Government is contemplating whether to appeal and to seek a stay of the injunction. In the meantime, effective 12 October, the Department of Defense will abide by its terms, as follows:

The District Court "permanently enjoins defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command from enforcing or applying the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command."

The District Court further "orders defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act or pursuant to 10 USC 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment."

Further guidance on this and related issues will be provided as it is made available by DoD. Inform your commanders of this injunction and its terms. Direct any questions to the Administrative Law Division, AF/JAA.

Lieutenant General, USAF
The Judge Advocate General

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