Log Cabin Republicans Celebrates District Court Decision to Overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

California federal judge rules policy toward gay members of the military unconstitutional

September 10, 2010 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans celebrate the decision by a United States District Court to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" due to its unconstitutional violation of servicemembers' rights to free speech and due process. The verdict was handed down late yesterday by Judge Virginia A. Phillips who said the 1993 policy has a "direct and deleterious effect" on armed services.

"The efforts to repeal the failed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law are stalled in the United States Congress," said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. "Democratic leadership in the Senate has failed to schedule a vote after the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a repeal-inclusive bill in May. Log Cabin Republicans and our allies have stood firm in supporting legislative action in support of repeal as a part of our three front campaign to strike 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Servicemembers cannot wait any longer; it is time for the Obama Justice Department to drop its defense of this unconstitutional law."

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" statute was passed in 1993 by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The Pentagon has conducted several studies at the direction of numerous Secretaries of Defense and has not found justification for barring service by gay and lesbian Americans. On February 2nd, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, both Republican appointees, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in support of repeal. A repeal-inclusive National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 was passed in a bipartisan vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 27th and by a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives on May 28th. A date for a vote on this legislation in the Senate has not been set.

"The court's decision will change the lives of many individuals who only wanted to serve their country bravely," said Dan Woods, partner at White & Case, who is representing Log Cabin Republicans. "It will be interesting to see whether President Obama decides to appeal this case to stay the judge's injunction barring enforcement of the policy. If an appeal is made, we will vigorously oppose it, as a stay of the injunction would mean gays and lesbians would be denied their constitutional rights while they are fighting and dying for our country."