US seeks delay in 'don't ask, don't tell' ruling

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to allow the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays to continue during an appeal.

In court papers, the Obama administration says the case raises serious legal questions and that the government will be irreparably harmed unless the current policy is allowed to remain in place temporarily.

The Justice Department action came two days after a judge in California ordered the Pentagon to cease enforcement of its policy barring gays from openly serving in the military.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Department’s top lawyers have told troops that the military will comply with a court order to allow gays to serve openly. In the meantime, the Obama administration is about to ask the judge in the case to stay her order pending an appeal.

An e-mail sent Thursday by the military’s Judge Advocate Generals is the first acknowledgment from the Pentagon that it plans to abide by the ruling. Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters the military “will of course obey the law.” He said any changes were effective Tuesday when the ruling was issued.

Separately, a lawyer in the case and a person in the government said the administration would ask the federal judge to allow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law to continue in force pending an appeal of her order to end it.

The Associated Press