Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

(San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2011)—Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that halts enforcement of the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. The ruling lifts a stay that had previously been put in place, allowing U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’s October 2010 ruling prohibiting enforcement of DADT to take effect immediately. The Ninth Circuit found that “the circumstances and balance of hardships have changed” due in part to the passage of legislation to repeal DADT and recent statements by the Department of Justice that laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian people are presumptively unconstitutional.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Today’s order by the Ninth Circuit that halts the worldwide enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the latest in a stunning series of victories in the struggle to end government discrimination against LGBTQ people. On the heels of last month’s vote to end marriage discrimination in the state of New York and the Department of Justice’s filing last week of a historic brief urging the court in Karen Golinski’s case to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, this ruling is another powerful sign of a much larger transformation. For the first time in our nation’s history, we are within sight of a time when LGBTQ people can participate in all aspects of society without fear of being singled out for stigma and discrimination by their own government.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.