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The Log Cabin Republicans on Monday asked a federal appeals court to halt all investigations and discharges under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until the legislative repeal of the policy by Congress can take effect. In documents filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the GOP gay rights group opposed the Justice Department’s request to stay its challenge to the constitutionality of the military’s ban on openly gay homosexuals. The Justice Department filed its motion several days after Obama signed repeal into law on Dec. 22. The Log Cabin Republicans emphasized that the law, despite legislative repeal, remains in effect. “Despite what the government has led the American people to believe, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has not been repealed and will likely remain the law of the land until the end of 2011,” Dan Woods, a partner at White & Case in Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement. Woods represents the Log Cabin Republicans in the case. “In the meantime, openly gay individuals are not free to enlist in our armed forces, current servicemembers must continue to live a lie and the government continues to investigate and discharge service members.” The government seeks to overturn a Sept. 9 ruling by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif., that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell deprives homosexuals of their due process and free speech rights. She issued a worldwide injunction barring enforcement of the law, but the 9th Circuit stayed that action to give the government time to appeal. In Monday’s filing, Woods asked the 9th Circuit to reject the government’s stay request or, in the alternative, lift its stay on Phillips’ injunction, which would halt discharges and investigations. Woods argued that the repeal would not take effect until 60 days after President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen certify that the military has instituted polices and regulations that ensure repeal would not harm military readiness, effectiveness or unit cohesion. That process could be a long one, said Woods, who cited in his brief a Department of Defense news briefing on Jan. 6 in which Mullen said that “the law has not changed, won’t until it is certified; and there’s 60 days after certification. And now is not — from my perspective, you know, now is not the time to ‘come out,’ if you will.” Mullen wrapped up his comments by saying: “We’ll get through this. We’ll do it deliberately. We certainly are focused on this. And we won’t — we won’t dawdle.”   Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected].

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