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Injunction sought to ban defense agencies from enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell' policy

A week after a federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. government’s ban on gays serving openly in the military unconstitutional, attorneys for the Republican organization that filed the lawsuit asked the court to permanently and immediately ban defense agencies from enforcing the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

The U.S. Department of Justice has seven days to respond to the proposed injunction. Agency officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

On Sept. 9, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy violated the 1st Amendment and due process rights of gay and lesbian service members. The case was filed in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans, the GOP’s largest gay political organization.

In her opinion, Phillips said the evidence presented showed that the policy had a detrimental effect on the armed services, including leading to the dismissal of “critical” military personnel. She noted that the Pentagon also violated the policy when it saw fit, routinely delaying the discharge of service members suspected of violating the law until they completed their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Justice Department officials could appeal the ruling and any court-ordered injunction.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) wrote a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder urging him not to appeal the decision. They noted that President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all have called for the law to be repealed.

The policy “harms military readiness, as well as the morale and the cohesiveness of our armed forces, at a time when our military’s resources are strained and unity is critically important," the senators wrote.

Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods, from the White & Case law firm in Los Angeles, said leaders of the organization have been invited to discuss the case with members of the Obama administration in the next few days.

Justice officials and other legal experts have questioned whether the federal judge has the legal authority to issue an injunction prohibiting the policy from being enforced worldwide throughout the military, as opposed to just her judicial district in California.

Woods, however, argued that past federal court rulings show that Phillips clearly possesses that authority.

Former President Clinton adopted the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993 as a reform to the military's practice of seeking out and discharging gays and lesbians. Under the policy, as long as gays and lesbians keep their sexual orientation secret, they are allowed to serve.

More than 13,000 service members have been discharged under the policy, according to evidence presented at the trial by the Log Cabin Republicans.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the policy last spring, contingent on the outcome of a Pentagon study to determine if it can adapt to the change without harming military readiness. The study is expected to be completed by December. The proposed repeal remains stalled in the U.S. Senate, however.

-- Phil Willon in Riverside

Comments () | Archives (6)

"The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the policy last spring, contingent on the outcome of a Pentagon study(and asking our military personnel) to determine if it can adapt to the change without harming military readiness. The study is expected to be completed by December. "


I think what the gays want is a "don't ask, but its "OK-TO-TELL" policy"! I think they want to be able to flaunt their sexual orientation (this seems to be a requirement if you are gay-as evidenced in the yearly "Pride" parades!), but they don't want to be "outed" about it (unless they are IN the "Pride" parade!). I think that keeping one's mouth SHUT about a sexual orientation is perfectly acceptable for military policy. People do not join the military to be "out" about a sexual orientation, and I don't think the average American cares WHAT the sexual orientation IS of anyone defending this country! Its interesting to note that the "study" on this issue is not due for completion till December, when Congress will probably be adjourned, or if they do sneak in a repeal of "DADT", it will be in an infamous "lame duck" session!

@ Pro-DADT Policy

Repealing DADT is not about flaunting anything. It's about not being discharged for being yourself. A heterosexual service member can talk about his or her spouse or family back home, have pictures up, make phone calls to them all without worrying that they must hide. People against repealing DADT act like there are no gays or lesbians in the military at this very moment, and if DADT is repealed, suddenly every gay or lesbian will join the ranks. There are already thousands of gays & lesbians proudly serving our country, and if thousands more want to join them, so much the better.

Pro-DADT --

So it's OK for straight service members to flaunt their sexuality but not gays? Because they do, constantly.

You seem fixated on Pride parades -- maybe you've been watching too much Fox News. You should actually attend one and see all the different people participating -- including politicians, firefighters and police -- and all the families watching and cheering. Might open your eyes a little bit.

MYOB! I simpyl do NOT understand some peoples' fixation on other peoples sexual orientation.

I served in the militar yfor 4 years and i just recently got out. My thoughts on this might come to a shock on some people. We should Repeal the DADT policy because its violates the 1st amendment and due process. Not to mention it does contain prejudice. As you may or may not know you cant tell anyone your gay but did you know you cant be SEEN engaagin in homosexual activity, talk about it, release some type of info, or even go to a pro gay rally as a soldier might see you. Violates the Assembly right there. You should serve whether or gay, bisexual or heterosexual. You should serve openly and not be penalized by something that is so minor. What if it was " you cant tell anyone your african american, you cant be seen at KFC, or eat watermelon, or talk about any african american history" Would you consider that to be unconstitutional i do. I know too many soldier to know that the DADT policy only applies to superiors. Do you think the soldiers under the rank if E-4 will care about that policy. I know they wil expose someone if they think your gay. Most units hang out together, i dont agree with that but ok . if you dont do that your an outcast or branded "gay". And the harassment goes from there. Why do you think thatgay who do serve in the military, move off post, dont associate with their units, apply for CCW license and buy pistols. Because of the fear of what other service member will do if they find out there gay.
If i can hear about certain information about a soldiers wife , kids or family then i can endure the same things from a homosexual person . no differance. just a differance in lifestyle. they say it will effect cohesion. So does drugs, heavy drinking, dating another soldier wife, stealing a soldiers belonging. These are all common thins that happen evryday in the military. 13,000 service members have been discharge because of this policy. If you dont repeal this act. I openly support that all gays and bisexual should not support this military just individual service members. Dont join the military, dont support the military, dont send them anything. Because if anyone who cannot over look a simple issue like sexual preferance, doesnt deserve any support. this is tyranny.


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