Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Log Cabin's DADT Law Suit Starts Today

The Advocate reports that a long-pending lawsuit launched by the Log Cabin Republicans challenging the constitutionality of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will finally begin today in a southern California federal court.
Log Cabin Republicans will argue in the nonjury trial before U.S. district judge Victoria A. Phillips that the 1993 law barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military violates constitutional protections of due process and free speech.

Though President Barack Obama has publicly stated both his opposition to the law and his support for its repeal, the Justice Department is defending the policy in court after previous failed attempts to dismiss the suit.

“Though times may have blinded the Congress that enacted DADT to this truth, all available evidence, both at the time of enactment and since, shows that DADT is a law that serves only to oppress,” attorney Dan Woods, who represents the national gay Republican organization, wrote in a pretrial memorandum.

Log Cabin also contends that its standing to sue the government, one now at the center of a heated legislative repeal effort on Capitol Hill, rests on its members who are current, retired, or former members of the armed services. Attorneys identify two specific service members adversely affected by the policy: Lt. Colonel “John Doe,” who recently completed a tour of duty in Iraq, remains in the military and thus has been granted anonymity in legal proceedings; and J. Alexander Nicholson, the executive director of Servicemembers United, who was discharged from the Army in 2002.

Log Cabin spokesman Charles Moran said a federal judge in Los Angeles originally assigned to the case in 2004 had retired and that the suit was then reassigned to Judge Phillips in Riverside, Calif.

"It would be preferable for 'don't ask, don't tell’ to be repealed legislatively, but while there is legislation moving through now, President Obama has said he would veto the defense authorization bill if it contains too much pork, which will basically sink what our community is trying to do," Moran said.

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