updated 10/20/2010 12:24:44 PM ET 2010-10-20T16:24:44

The Obama administration on Wednesday asked a U.S. appeals court to immediately suspend a judge's ruling that overturned the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays.

The government says it wants the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco to take action on Wednesday. The federal government is preparing arguments for the appeals court on why the ruling on "don't ask, don't tell" should be suspended while the case is appealed.

Under the policy the military may not ask armed service members about their sexual orientation and service members may not disclose it.

The Obama administration says it is in favor of repealing the law. However, the government says that letting the ruling of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips go forward immediately would be a major problem for the military.

Leaving the judge's decision in place now "would create tremendous uncertainty about the status of service members who may reveal their sexual orientation in reliance on the district court's decision and injunction," the Justice Department said in its latest appeals court filing.

"Effectively developing proper training and guidance with respect to a change in policy will take time and effort," the court papers added. "The district court's injunction does not permit sufficient time for such training to occur, especially for commanders and servicemembers serving in active combat."

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Timeline: Timeline of 'don't ask, don't tell'

View how U.S. military policy has evolved since 1982, when the Pentagon formalized World War II-era policies banning gays.


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