Rights group asks court to resume consideration of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' appeal

[JURIST] The Log Cabin Republicans [advocacy website] on Monday urged the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] to resume proceedings in their lawsuit against the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy [10 USC § 654 text; JURIST news archive]. The advocacy group filed a response [text, PDF] to a motion to delay that was recently filed by the Obama Administration [JURIST report] in US v. Log Cabin Republicans [case materials]. In its response, the group argues that the court "should reject the government's constant attempts at delaying and avoiding the issues" and calls the motion "another effort by the government to avoid filing a brief attempting to defend the indefensible." Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said that the government would like the case to simply disappear [press release]:

The Obama administration’s continued defense of this failed and unconstitutional policy is a mystery. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ was rejected by Congress, by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and most notably by the American people. It is time for the President to stand by his commitment and end this policy of discrimination, removing the threat and specter of discharge from thousands of patriotic servicemembers.
The group said that it would have been willing to agreed to a delay in the proceedings if the government, in return, agreed to stop investigations and discharges during that period, but that gay servicemembers continue to be dissuaded from making their sexuality known.

The Don't Ask, Don't Repeal Act of 2010 [HR 2965 materials] was signed into law [JURIST report] in December. However, DADT remains in effect until the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that the necessary policies and procedures are in place within the military to implement the repeal. After receiving certification, the full repeal must take effect within 60 days. The Obama administration had been pushing Congress to repeal DADT as courts have also been weighing in on the issue. Earlier in December, three former service members discharged under DADT filed a complaint against the Department of Defense seeking reinstatement [JURIST report] and the declaration that their discharges under the statute, and the statute itself, are unconstitutional. Additionally, in November, US Air Force Major Margaret Witt, who was discharged under DADT, became the first openly gay person to serve in the US military after the Obama administration did not pursue a stay of a previous federal court decision ordering her reinstatement [JURIST reports]. 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.

 

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