Supreme Court Ruling Keeps Ban on Gays From Openly Serving in the Military

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that a controversial law prohibiting homosexuals from openly serving in the armed forces can remain in place while the government appeals a federal judge's decision striking down the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Act.

A gay rights group asked the high court to overturn a stay order from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals keeping the law in effect while that court reviews the case. The petition from the Log Cabin Republicans was presented to Justice Anthony Kennedy who is responsible for handling emergency requests out of the Ninth Circuit.

Kennedy's order simply said, "the application to vacate the stay entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on November 1, 2010, presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied." The order also noted that Justice Elena Kagan, who until this summer was Solicitor General, didn't take part in the case.

In September, Judge Virginia Phillips said the law was unconstitutional because it infringes on the fundamental rights of gay service members and concluded that the policy does not improve military readiness or unit cohesion. More than 13,000 people have been forced out since the law took effect in 1993.

Judge Phillips then ordered that the military immediately stop enforcing the law but her ruling was enjoined by the Ninth Circuit on November 1. Friday's ruling by the Supreme Court affirms the Ninth Circuit's decision to maintain the status quo while the government appeals the initial judgment invalidating the law.

The Obama Administration has defended the law in every court proceeding even though it has publically voiced its opposition to it and its desire to have Congress repeal the measure. It's unclear what impact the recent election results will have on that pursuit.