Protester in 2007 (AP/Susan Walsh)The Pentagon said today that it will cease processing the discharge of soldiers for being openly gay and that the services will begin to accept gay and lesbian recruits, The Army Times reports.
Earlier this week, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered an immediate end to the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy. In its decision, the appellate court found that the policy violates the constitutional rights of gay people to be treated equally under the law. Congress had voted to repeal the military ban in December 2010, but the Pentagon said it needed more time to train troops before the new policy could start. The Defense Department and the Obama administration have yet to officially certify the repeal, and once they do, the new policy would take another 60 days to go into effect.
It's unclear if the government plans to appeal that court's ruling to the Supreme Court, which could at least provisionally reinstate the original timeline for ending "Don't ask."
Only one servicemember has been discharged under the law since last year's successful repeal vote in Congress. Several Air Force members have voluntarily requested they be discharged under the law.