September 14, 2009

Extension Of National Emergency Could Benefit Gay Troops

Continuation of Emergency Status Allows President Additional Year to Sign Executive Order

SANTA BARBARA, CA, – After President Obama extended the National Emergency for one year last Thursday, experts noted that the move allows him additional time to sign an executive order suspending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  According to a “stop-loss” statute (10 U.S.C. § 12305), Congress has authorized the President to suspend any law regarding military separations during national security emergencies.

“By extending the state of emergency,” said Dr. Aaron Belkin, “the president has given himself more time to suspend the gay ban via executive order.”  Belkin is Director of the Palm Center, which first proposed the idea of suspending “don’t ask, don’t tell” by executive order in a May 2009 study.

On September 10, the president issued a document titled, “Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks” in which he noted that, “I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001.”

A recent article in, suggested that the legislative process to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” is badly stalled.  Belkin added that, “Because the legislative process is frozen, a two-part strategy is the only realistic way to go.  Start with an executive order, and then follow with legislative repeal.”

The multi-step approach has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress and a number of other prominent organizations.