WASHINGTON (AP) - The Defense Department said Tuesday that it is accepting openly gay recruits, but is warning applicants they might not be allowed to stick around for long.
Following last week's court ruling that struck down a 1993 law banning gays from serving openly, the military has suspended enforcement of the rule known as "don't ask, don't tell." The Justice Department is appealing the decision and has asked the courts for a temporary stay on the ruling.
The Defense Department said it would comply with the law and had frozen any discharge cases. But at least one case was reported of a man being turned away from an Army recruiting office in Austin, Texas.
Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith on Tuesday confirmed that recruiters had been given top-level guidance to accept applicants who say they are gay.
Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium on enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell" could be reversed at any point, if the ruling is appealed or the court grants a stay, she said.
The uncertain status of the law has caused much confusion within an institution that has historically discriminated against gays. Before the 1993 law, the Defense Department banned gays entirely and declared them incompatible with military service.