Rights group asks Supreme Court to suspend 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

[JURIST] The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) [advocacy website] on Friday filed a petition [text] asking the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] to rescind the stay preventing the suspension of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy. The LCR are seeking to overturn the indefinite extension [order, PDF; JURIST report] of a temporary stay [JURIST report] issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] earlier this week for the duration of the appeals process, or alternately to temporarily block the military from discharging those in violation of the policy. The group argues that the earlier order is premised on an abuse of discretion that failed to properly consider Lawrence v. Texas [opinion text]. They also contend that the court inaccurately balanced the competing interests involved, saying that "[a]ny alleged harms to the government are entirely bureaucratic, procedural, and transitory in nature, and are sharply outweighed by the substantial constitutional injury that servicemembers will sustain from a stay of the district court's judgment." The Ninth Circuit is not expected to issue a final ruling in the matter until next year.

Since the enactment of DADT in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy. In September, a federal judge for the US District for the Western District of Washington [official website] ordered [JURIST report] that a US Air Force officer be reinstated after being previously discharged under DADT. Also in September, the Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy. In May, the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) [official websites] voted to repeal the policy after President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed to a compromise [JURIST reports] that would prevent the repeal from taking effect until the completion of a review to determine what effects the repeal would have on military effectiveness, soldier retention and family readiness.

 

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