OCT. 30 1993
Way cleared for the
Pentagon to institute
its policy on gays
By Susanne M. Schafer
of The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Supreme
Court opened the
way Friday for the Pentagon
to implement its "don't ask,
don't tell' policy allowing expulsion
of declared homosexuals but
preventing questioning of recruits
The justices granted the Clinton
administration's emergency request
to temporarily limit enforcement
of a federal judge's
order banning military discrimination
against homosexuals nationwide.
For now, the judge's order will
apply only to the sailor who challenged
the Pentagon's policy and
the government's appeal of the order
will go forward.
"I'm very pleased that the Supreme
Court has stayed the ruling
... and limited its affect to a single
individual," Defense Secretary
Les Aspin said in a statement released
at the Pentagon. "We hope
to have in place soon the new U.S.
policy on homosexuality in the
military which focuses on conduct
rather than status.''
Federal lawyers argued that
U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter
Jr. of Los Angeles lacked-the authority
to issue a nationwide ban.
In response to Hatter's Sept. 30
order, the Pentagon instructed
units to stop barring homosexuals.
But Friday's action means the
Pentagon can return to an interim
policy in which recruits are not
asked about the subject but military
personnel who declare their
homosexuality are transferred to
In a statement, the Pentagon
said it intended to put back on
standby reserve Sgt. Justin Elzie
a gay Marine who had been re-
turned to active duty last week.
Elzie, a requisition clerk at
Camp Lejeune in North Carolina,
was the only one of eight homosexuals
on standby reserve status
who had asked to return to active
duty and had been granted the request
after Hatter's ruling Penta-
gon officials said.
President Clinton's "don't ask,
don't tell" policy is awaiting action
in Congress. House and Senate
versions say recruits and
active duty service members
would no longer be asked about
their orientation, but the legislation
leaves open the possibility
that a future defense secretary
could reinstate the question.
Congressional negotiators are
expected to complete a final version
of the defense budget containing
the provision next week
with a vote by the House and Sen-
ate no later than Thanksgiving.
Clinton said during his presidential
campaign that he wanted
to simply lift the military's ban on
homosexuals, but he backed off in
January in the face of strong opposition
from military leaders and
The Pentagon will wait until
Congress acts before sending
commanders in the field instructions
about how the new policy
should be implemented.
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