9th Circuit Orders Gov't to State Position on Don't Ask Don't Tell

By JULIE WATSON | July 11, 2011 | 3:14 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal appeals court has issued an order asking the U.S. government to state whether it will defend the constitutionality of the military's 17-year ban on openly gay troops.

Monday's order comes less than a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Obama administration to immediately cease enforcing "don't ask, don't tell."

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit says it appears the United States is not prepared to defend the policy's constitutionality.

The Department of Justice has been defending the policy in court in response to a lawsuit filed by the gay rights organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, while working to have it ended. The government's lawyers have said the policy should be thrown out by Congress and not the courts.