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Supreme court rejects challenge to 'don't ask, don't tell'

Repeal of the policy barring homosexuals from serving openly in the military is now up to the Obama administration and Congress.

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The Supreme Court's decision not to hear a challenge to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring homosexuals from serving openly in the military may mean that any push to repeal the policy is unlikely to happen this year.

Monday's points up the Obama administration's dilemma in honoring a campaign pledge to help repeal the policy, while avoiding the pitfalls of a controversial issue that tripped up the Clinton administration in its first year.

In refusing to hear an appeal from a former Army captain who was dismissed under the policy, the top court in effect sided with the Obama administration which said in court papers that a federal appeals court in Boston had ruled correctly when it threw the case out. The policy is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion," the administration said in its brief.

The case was brought originally by former captain James Pietrangelo II and 11 other veterans who were dismissed under the policy.

The court's move plants firmly in the administration's lap any push to repeal the law, says Darren Rosenblum, a law professor at Pace Law School in New York.

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