Washington — The Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear a legal challenge to the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, a decision that allows the Obama administration to continue its slow, back-burner response to liberal activists who want gays to serve openly in the military.
During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated that he supported eventually repealing the law, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. The White House has said it won’t stop the military from dismissing gays and lesbians who admit their sexuality.
Democrats who control Congress also are not in a hurry to end the policy, which was made law in 1993. Easing the outright ban on gays in the military caused political trouble for President Bill Clinton and Democratic lawmakers that year, and Obama and his congressional allies want to avoid an issue that would roil the public just as they are seeking support for health care and other initiatives.
A Democratic aide to the Senate Armed Services Committee called a review of the law “not a high priority” and said the panel will look at the issue sometime before the end of Obama’s term — but would not specify when. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the committee’s plans.