Log Cabin Republicans win key ruling in federal court challenging 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law

Lawsuit introduced 4 years ago receives court approval to move forward

July 1, 2009 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Los Angeles, CA) – On June 9, 2009, Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the Central District of California denied the U.S. Government's attempt to dismiss Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit challenging the U.S. military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy as unconstitutional. Judge Phillips' ruling is the culmination of a 4 1/2-year effort to reach a preliminary ruling on the merits of the case.

Log Cabin Republicans' case was the first direct challenge to the Policy filed in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which held that criminalization of homosexual conduct by the State of Texas was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause.

"More than four years later and with the wind at our backs, Log Cabin Republicans is proud to continue the fight to repeal this policy, which puts our nation's security and military readiness at risk," said Terry Hamilton, Board Chairman of Log Cabin Republicans. "While we hoped the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress would fulfill their promise to do away with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' legislatively, we cannot stand idly by while this policy continues to violate constitutional freedoms, especially at a time when able-bodied volunteers are needed in our military."

The prominent international law firm White and Case LLP has been handling the case for Log Cabin Republicans. "We are gratified by the court's order denying the government's motion to dismiss the complaint brought by the Log Cabin Republicans," said Dan Woods, White and Case litigation partner in Los Angeles. "This is the first facial challenge to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to survive such a motion since the landmark Lawrence case. The lawsuit can now proceed like any other civil case, and we will have the opportunity to conduct discovery and prove that the policy is unfairly discriminatory, does not work, should never have been implemented, and should be reversed."

"Log Cabin Republicans has been consistently lobbying Congress, the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations since President Clinton signed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' into law in 1993," states Log Cabin Republicans Spokesman Charles T. Moran. "We are confidant that the ruling from Judge Phillips gives us ample space to make our arguments in ways that other legal challenges against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' have not been able to."

The injured party in the case, Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who speaks multiple languages, including Arabic, was honorably discharged early pursuant to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' just six months after 9/11.

The Court has scheduled a hearing for July 6 to discuss, in detail, the scope of discovery and a schedule for the case going forward.

The order from the court may be found here.