Constitutional Law

Pentagon to Military Recruiters: You Can Accept Openly Gay Candidates

Corrected: After an injunction was issued last week by a district court judge demanding the military stop its 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Pentagon has advised recruiters that they can accept openly gay applicants.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said this guidance was sent to recruiting commands Friday, CNN reports. Recruiters were told they are still not allowed to ask candidates if they are gay, but candidates who admit to being gay and qualify under normal guidelines can be admitted, Smith said. However, recruiters are advised to warn such applicants that U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips’ decision could be reversed in the future.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy organization dedicated to ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” gave gay and lesbian active service members a warning in a press release.

“During this interim period of uncertainty, service members must not come out and recruits should use caution if choosing to sign up,” the press release stated. “A higher court is likely to issue a hold on the injunction by Judge Phillips very soon. The bottom line: If you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon.”

Additional coverage:

Poliglot (Metro Weekly): “Pentagon to Recruiters: Accept Applicants ‘Who Admit They Are Openly Gay or Lesbian’ “

The Atlantic: “Gays Allowed to Enter the Military”

Updated Oct. 20 to correct that an injunction was issued last week; the judge’s decision was made last month.

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