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Appeals Court Temporarily Upholds Ban on Openly Gay Service Members

A federal appeals court temporarily granted the Obama administration’s request to resume the military’s ban on openly gay service members, the Associated Press reported Wednesday night.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will later rule whether to extend the freeze on a district judge’s order that the military stop enforcing its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In considering a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, Judge Virginia Phillips found that the policy is unconstitutional and ordered last week that the military immediately stop enforcing it.

The appellate judges instructed the Log Cabin Republicans to file a response by Monday.

The Justice Department is appealing Phillips’ finding. There was no immediate administration response to the appellate judges’ decision, but President Barack Obama supports a Congressional repeal of the ban.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement last month that the Justice Department’s legal filing in the case is in line with its traditional response “when acts of Congress are challenged” and does not diminish Obama’s commitment to a legislative repeal.

The effect of the temporary freeze is unclear. A Pentagon spokeswoman said Tuesday that military recruiters were being told to accept openly gay and lesbian applicants.

Jennifer Bendery contributed to this report.

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