Appeals Court Backs ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

A federal appeals court upheld the military ban on homosexual conduct Friday, saying the armed forces are entitled to treat off-duty homosexual acts more harshly than heterosexual conduct.

The 2-1 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the first appellate decision on the portion of the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that requires discharge for homosexual conduct, whether on or off duty.

Friday’s ruling upheld the discharge of Navy Petty Officer Mark Philips of Seattle, who disclosed his homosexuality to a division officer while serving on the USS Nimitz in November 1992, shortly after President Clinton’s election.

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