Federal Court Overturns Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy: Read the Ruling Here

A federal judge has declared the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy unconstitutional and barred the military from enforcing it, ruling in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.

Soldier The L.A. Times reports:

"A federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional Thursday, saying the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men. U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy banning gays did not preserve military readiness, contrary to what many supporters have argued, saying evidence shows that the policy in fact had a 'direct and deleterious effect' on the military. Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended 'don’t ask, don’t tell' during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision."

Phillips has given the plaintiffs until September 16 to submit a proposed judgment, including a permanent injunction, consistent with the Court's opinion. The Department of Justice then must submit its objections by September 23.

Said LCR executive director R. Clarke Cooper: "As an American, a veteran and an Army reserve officer, I am proud the court ruled that the arcane ‘don't ask, don't tell’ statute violates the Constitution. Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican service members, but all American service members."

The court agreed to hear the case on June 29. Earlier in June, the Department of Justice asked the judge to defer proceedings in the case "because the political branches have taken concrete steps to facilitate repeal of the DADT statute." 

Closing arguments were held in the case on July 23, at which time the plaintiffs asked the court to declare the policy unconstitutional and issue an injunction, which Phillips did today.

The AP adds: "Government lawyers argued Phillips lacked the authority to issue a nationwide injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress…Six military officers who were discharged under the policy testified during the trial. A decorated Air Force officer testified that he was let go after his peers snooped through his personal e-mail in Iraq…Lawyers also submitted remarks by Obama stating 'don't ask, don't tell' weakens national security."

Alex-nicholson The case through which the law was struck down, Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A., was originally filed in 2004. Servicemembers United's Executive Director, J. Alexander Nicholson (pictured), is the sole named injured party in the lawsuit.

Said Nicholson, a former multi-lingual U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.': "This is an historic moment and an historic ruling for the gay military community and for the readiness and integrity of our Armed Forces. As the only named injured party in this case, I am exceedingly proud to have been able to represent all who have been impacted and had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy. We are finally on our way to vindication." 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweets: "Fed'l judge in CA has ruled #DADT unconstitutional. Great news! It's my hope that DOJ does not appeal. DADT is immoral & hurts our military."

HERE'S THE RULING:

DADT Unconstitutional

Comments

  1. says

    Three cheers for a judge brave enough to stand up for civil rights and enforce the Constitution. Amazing that it should be brought about by the Log Cabin Republicans but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth…

  2. TampaZeke says

    It looks like the only way we’re going to get the rights that Obama promised us is to win in court against a passionate defense of the discriminatory laws by OBAMA’S Department of Justice.

    Why didn’t he just tell us in 2008 that he wouldn’t really do anything to pass gay rights legislatively but he would promise to fight us at every turn in the courts?

    Why not just be honest?

  3. Max says

    Thank you, Log Cabin Republicans!

    “Why didn’t he just tell us in 2008 that he wouldn’t really do anything to pass gay rights legislatively but he would promise to fight us at every turn in the courts?”

    Tampazeke, if this is suddenly news to you, then there’s nothing I can say to help you.

    Facts, whether you like them or not:

    (1) Neither party’s legislative members, save for a handful of Democrats, cares one bit about LGBT equality.

    (2) Any significant progress we have made has been made by us alone. Our protests. Our court challenges. Our lawsuits. Our parades. Our op-eds. Our visibility. Our perseverance. Our “gay money.”

    (3) The Log Cabin Republicans are doing more for us than Obama. Not because they are Republicans, but because they are LGBT community members.

    Stop wasting *all* your votes on Democrats. Be strategic. Learn from the banks, and buy off both sides of the aisle. Once Republicans discover “gay money,” we’ll get equality a lot faster. If the Democrat won’t champion equality, then run a gay Republican. It’s really that simple.

    For those of you in California, Boxer is a consistent ally and she needs your vote in November.

  4. ratbastard says

    It’s a mistake for any constituent to become one political party’s bitch. It’s good thing there are Republican gays, especially those not afraid to be out, and those who maybe closeted but help behind the scenes.

    Other minorities, like African Americans, would be wise to take notice.

  5. daftpunkydavid says

    let’s await further developments, but this is big on several metrics.

    it shows lgbt folks that there are alternatives to the democrats/human rights campaign/etc; this should scare the democrats into actually carrying out their electoral promises to the vast majority of lgbt folks who voted for them, and the hrc and gay,inc into ramping up ther lobbying efforts, lest they both lose “ownership” of the lgbt vote & purse.

    but it has the potential to make them even more stonewall any progress on our issues: they may reason that they’re better off just waiting for adjudication by the 3rd branch of government, as this case, or the perry case, or the massachusetts doma case have exemplified.

    i believe that ultimately, it’s necessary to pursue all options: judiciary means, legislative action, executive leadership. but some may disagree.

    the end of our struggle is in sight. it’s a big if, but if these 3 cases eventually are effected nationally, then the only other major law that most of the community will be trying to pass is enda. (and even that my not be ultimately necessary if, through one of the cases mentioned above, lgbt folks are deemed worthy of “suspect class status”.)

    this is great news. i hope it sticks. kudos to the log cabin republicans.

  6. Joe says

    Can we please get Ari in to explain what this means as a whole? How does this effect legislation in the Senate. What is the timeframe like for this getting kicked up to the SC?

    My thoughts:

    I think it would be great if more of these decisions didn’t come from the 9th circuit (or Mass). We need more judges willing to stand up in other parts of the country that aren’t seen as liberal land for those opposed to rights to start recognizing that times are changing.

    Nice to see the Log Cabin Republicans doing this. This, in a way, seems like something obvious for them to be doing since Conservatives are more pro-war. I hope this silences some voices of dissent in congress and that Harry Reid starts pushing this stuff through.

    Also, between the former exec. directors comments on Melhman yesterday and this decision, this is probably the best GAY week the LCR has had in a while. bravo. Hopefully they can really start fighting for our rights now.

  7. says

    Seems like the activist community should argue in the courst for enda. In my opinion, that’s the most important issue. And with the last two victories, the stage may be set for the court to grant us protected status nationally. But it’s doubtful that hrc or the others will take time away from their black tie evenings to do anything constructive.

  8. anon says

    Nicholson is one butch dude. Now, jurisdiction is an interesting thing here. Will the military simply ignore the ruling? This is an LCR fund raising move, but what the hey…

  9. Ken says

    MikeM: Let me remind you Hillary had the exact same positions as Obama on gay issues during the campaign, anti marriage equality, she’s not the answer. We need a new candidate who will clearly support full equality for us. I will no longer vote for anything less.

  10. says

    If they appeal, and they will, is there ANYONE left who is going to try to defend Obama’s bigotry? And if you have doubts they will appeal, keep in mind that they weren’t above playing dirty the first time around:

    ” the Justice Department vigorously defended “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ and even tried to undercut the case with a technical legal challenge over whether the named plaintiffs were dues-paying members of the organization that filed the lawsuit: the Log Cabin Republicans.”

    Fucking Assholes.

  11. S says

    I’m happy with this news; I hope it goes all the way with no upheld appeal. I’m concerned though that there could be an increase in soldier-soldier hate crimes. Anybody seen Solder’s Girl where the guy is dating a transsexual and one of his supposed army buddies finds out and kills him while he sleep? Supposedly a true story, sad stuff… still, can’t live in fear, but… proactive prevention is also better than reactive funerals and heartache to later make integration standards. I guess I really feel like there will be some military folks who may have very violent reactions if it’s ever fully repealed.. no one should have to walk on those land mines on the road to equality.

  12. Keppler says

    Once again we’re beholden to the federal courts for doing what the congressional pieces of sh*t we elected were too chicken-sh*t to do. Now we wait to find out whether our piece of sh*t president will do what the republican governor of California refused to do in the Prop. 8 case: appeal.

  13. Eric26 says

    I’m so happy to hear this, despite not being American. My friends are like, “what’s a DADT?” but now I don’t have to bother trying to explain it to them anymore.

  14. Chris says

    Miss Michael Bedwell who the fuck you think you are? Bitch ass if you know so much then why don’t your FICTIONAL WRITING ASS run for office.

    You could be the love child of Bill (D.A.D.T) Clinton!

  15. ratbastard says

    ratbastard, or grabbinnewscum…which one are you tonight cracker face faggot?

    POSTED BY: MOSHI | SEP 10, 2010 12:13:07 AM

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Negress please

  16. Rann says

    To S who asked about the movie Soldier’s Girl: yes I have seen it as I am sure man yon this site have. It is a real story about real people. The soldier’s name is Barry Winchell. His parents recently commented on the fact that DADT needs to be repealed. The “girl” in question is Calpernia Addams.Here is some more info from Wikipedia:
    Winchell’s parents, Wally and Patricia Kutteles, and many others continue to press for a re-examination of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Despite campaigning by the Kutteleses and LGBT activist groups, the Commanding General of Fort Campbell at the time of the murder, Major General Robert T. Clark, refused to take responsibility for the purported anti-gay climate at Fort Campbell under his command.[11] After being exonerated, he was nominated and approved for promotion to Lieutenant General on 5 December 2003.

    Lieutenant General Timothy Maude however, did visit with Patricia Kutteles. He was a point man on LGBT issues for the U.S. Army and his services to that community were greatly appreciated by C. Dixon Osburn, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Maude was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    The 2003 film Soldier’s Girl is based on Winchell’s murder and the events leading up to the brutal slaying. Winchell was portrayed by Troy Garity. The film received a Peabody Award and numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, and sparked renewed debate of the effects of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy during the Clark promotion hearings.

  17. says

    Huh ? I seem to have woken in a parallel universe.
    It has been obvious that this DADT was always unconstitutional…….and further that persons discharged under it have a right to:
    reinstatement
    and/or loss of earnings
    loss of career opportunity
    aggravated damages for breach of a constitutional right
    restoration of all pension losses…..etc.

    What is more interesting is if those damages should be punitive on the basis that the breach of rights was cynical and deliberate, ie political rather than necessary or reasonable.

    Now, am I dreaming or did it take Log Cabin Republicans to bring this case ? Shame on us .

  18. Rann says

    Let’s not get caught up in who brought the case. While we may not agree with all their stances, the Log Cabin Rebuplicans are part of the GLBT umbrella and I appreciate all they do and have done in this case!

  19. Robert says

    I am so happy to see this decision before I die. As a veteran and a senior citizen, I never thought I would see this day. It is not final yet and I’m sure it will be fought tooth and nail by bigots including the Obama DOJ. I can hardly believe I made the mistake of voting for Obama after he promised us so much and delivered nothing. As I reflect on being a progressive liberal over the years, I realize it was mostly because I thought their agenda gave me the best chance for equality. This decision is the first step in me changing political affiliations. If this decision stands and DOMA is eliminated and gay marriage is legal, I will be the first to join the LCR. Being fiscally conservative, believing wellfare is out of control, and wanting a hard line on immagration, I will have to join them (but only after the above takes place). Let’s not forget the black and Latino communities were very instrumental in passing prop. 8. I’m through championing their causes when they stab us in the back. Admittedly, swallowing Republicans like Palin, Limbaugh, Joe the Plumber, Baneher, Bush, will be tough.

  20. Hue-Man says

    Don’t forget Iowa – these equality issues should all be 9-0 SCOTUS slam-dunks. It’s pathetic to watch the DEMS slither under rocks to avoid doing the right thing; as if equality could dig them a bigger hole than the one they’re already in.

  21. anon says

    You guys sicken me with your “well as long as I got mine” attitude. I am white and straight and I have always, always, ALWAYS fought for the rights of minorities, especially YOURS. I’m not gay, black, or poor and yet I give a shit about all those groups. Fancy that. And you know what? I’ll continue to give a shit even as you stab a big ol’ knife in my back and everyone else who has treated you with the love and respect everyone deserves. It’s called having a soul.

    Try to find one with Palin, Limbaugh, et al. As long as you got yours, and you don’t have to extend yourself to anyone else, you’ll crawl right into bed with the haters. Nice. This kind of shit actually makes my heart ache.

    I’m glad for this ruling, I truly am.

  22. Hollywood, CA says

    Stop pointing fingers at OBAMA, it’s not going to do anyone as much good as it is to make local changes and encourage people to come out. President Obama is not the enemy, and has to deal with EVERYONE’s needs.

    Hooooray for the good news!

  23. MARKD says

    Thanks for the support, ANON. My experience has been that those attitudes (and republicans) become much more prevalent the older people are. I can’t tell you how many older gays have told me that they are just fine with civil unions (if they support marriage equality at all) and that we will not see full equality for 20 or 30 years. These are the same folks who felt it necessary to stay in the closet in order to “pass” and make their lives easier. I think those ugly, selfish values are largely a generational thing.

  24. anon says

    Thanks MARKD. I truly hope you’re right. It breaks my heart to see people so readily turn on one another and to paint their friends as their enemies. But that’s the republican strategy. That’s what ugly people do. Divide and conquer is their MO.

    Don’t go down that road people–there is only one guy left standing that way, and it ain’t you.

  25. JB says

    It’s so disappointing to hear so many obtuse, and partisan comments in the light of this HUGE victory for gays (probably the first in decades). You should all be kissing gay Republicans’ asses for having the balls to fight for YOUR equality!!! This suit was originated in 2004, by the LCR. Obama’s, DOJ has fought it vigorously. And it’s not like the LCR even has support from the overall gay community. It took a lot of courage, patience and money!

    For those of you that think throwing your vote away to whomever smiles at you is the way to go, you should be ashamed for being idiots.

    The GOP is becomming VERY inclusive and sympathetic to the GLBT community and causes. Megan McCain, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, et al, openly support gay marriage (more than I can say about any prominent Democrats)!!! HELP THEM, HELP YOU!

  26. yaaah69 says

    Beware , it would be just like the GOP to throw their lcr into the ring only to win the battle and head in the other direction. This might be Our Trojan Horse, to get us to vote Rep. Don’t leave the Democratic party just because the lcr talked a judge into starting something she cannot finish .

  27. Austin Rozzell says

    HOO RAAA
    My fellow Gay americans, Congrats.

    Just remember a Person with a gun is a citizen,
    A man with out a gun is a slave.

    I rest assure you, there would be so much less gay bashing if every one knew, that attacking a gay person means getting a gun pointed at you.

    I live in the notch of the bible belt in a East Texas Town.
    I walk every where, I am openly out. I also were a hat that say Armed and fabulous.

    My Fellow gay americans please defend yourself.
    May your God/Gods or no god Bless your day.

Leave A Reply