Advocates for a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" suffered another blow last night when the White House moved to appeal a federal court decision overturning the controversial 1993 law. In a statement, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the Department of Justice appealed the court case "as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."
Gibbs also insisted that the move does not undermine the president's resolve to do away with the ban on gay troops serving openly in the military. "This filing in no way diminishes the President’s firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT – indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy ... The President, along with his Administration, will continue to work with the Senate Leadership to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT as outlined in the (defense authorization bill) this fall."
But gay rights groups immediately lamented the decision, saying that the president could have forced a change by not appealing the decision.
"'Don’t ask, don’t tell' is now at an impasse that only the President can resolve,” Palm Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff said in a statement. "Congress is in a stalemate, legal wrangling continues, and discriminatory discharges are still happening.
"The President has the power to end this discriminatory mess by either not appealing (this decision) or by issuing a stop-loss executive order to place a moratorium on these discharges.”