Pentagon: No Plans to Change 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy After Court Ruling

The military will not reinstate any gay service members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy despite a judge's ruling last week that the policy is unconstitutional, the Pentagon said Monday.

Though the ruling gave a boost to gay rights activists trying to overturn the policy via Congress and the courts, a Pentagon spokeswoman said the decision has no bearing on military policy.

"This ruling has no impact on the current law. The current law is still in effect," spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told

She said the Justice Department and Defense Department are reviewing the decision, but that nothing will change without congressional action.

Looking to avoid a protracted court battle, gay rights groups are increasing pressure on Congress to strike down the policy as lawmakers return this week from recess for what is likely to be a condensed working schedule before the November midterms. With time running out before a new Congress is sworn in come January, the groups are urging lawmakers to follow up on last week's ruling by District Judge Virginia Phillips.

Phillips ruled that the policy, which bars gays from serving openly in the military, violates their constitutional rights and has a "direct and deleterious" effect on the armed forces.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, plans to run a full-page ad Tuesday in Politico containing an open letter to President Obama and Congress which calls for immediate congressional action

"'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is just as wrong today as it has been since its inception, but for the first time we have a real opportunity to do something about it," the ad says. "We all understand the unfortunate reality of politics is that windows of opportunity don't come around too often. Yet we find ourselves in a unique moment of possibility."

The House voted in May to repeal the policy, but the full Senate has not yet taken up the issue.

Top military officials in the Obama administration have come out against the rule but want the military to first complete its internal review. The Justice Department wants Congress, not the judicial system, to decide.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican gay rights group which sued the federal government in 2004 over the military policy, has urged the Obama administration to drop its legal defense of the law in light of last week's ruling.

The District Court judge also is expected to soon issue an order barring the federal government from enforcing the policy -- Smith said she could not speculate on what impact, if any, the order could have.

The military has continued to discharge service members under "don't ask, don't tell" despite a 2008 appeals court ruling that said the military has to prove such dismissals are necessary for military readiness.

The American Civil Liberties Union went to court Monday in Tacoma, Wash., in a case examining that standard, claiming that the Phillips ruling should have "persuasive authority" in their argument even though the decision is not binding in Washington state.

The ACLU is representing former Maj. Margaret Witt, who was discharged from the Air Force in 2006 for having a relationship with a civilian woman.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 14,000 service members have been discharged under "don't ask, don't tell."