A judge’s order to immediately halt the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was set aside on Oct. 20 by a federal appeals court acting on a request from the White House.

The Obama administration asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to temporarily stay the decision by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips which would have brought an end to the controversial policy. The three-judge panel ordered the Phillips ruling to be set aside to give more time to “consider fully the issues presented.” Those who want the measure banned will have until Oct. 25 to file a motion detailing why Phillips’ ruling should be upheld.

Defense Department officials applauded the development, believing more time is required to bring an end to the policy.

“For the reasons stated in the government’s submission, we believe a stay is appropriate,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement.

However, Defense Department officials had initially complied with Phillips’ decision, issuing guidance on Oct. 15 to recruiters to allow openly gay men and women to enlist. But recruiters were cautioned to tell applicants that the court ruling ending the practice might not stand.

“Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law/policy may occur,” Smith said in a previous statement.

Now officials say they’ll have time to study if repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” will really be beneficial to the military.

“The review that is going on would look at all the far-ranging impacts of what changing the law would mean,” Marine Corps Col. David Lapan said in a statement.

Gay rights activists said they will look to Congress to bring an end to the policy through legislation.

“Gay and lesbian service members deserve better treatment than they are getting with this ruling,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, told The Los Angeles Times. “We now must look to the Senate next month in the lame-duck session to bring about the swift certainty needed hearing and to repeal this unjust law that serves no useful purpose.”