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Federal judge rules "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional; groups respond
From News Releases, posted Sept. 9, 2010
2010-09-08

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Log Cabin Republicans Statement on Log Cabin Republicans v. United States Ruling

( Washington, DC ) - Log Cabin Republicans celebrates the decision by a United States District Court judge to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't" Tell as an unconstitutional violation of servicemembers' rights to free speech and due process.

"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," said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. "Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican servicemembers, but all American servicemembers."

"We are delighted with the court's ruling in favor of Log Cabin Republicans in this important case. The court's opinion finds that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional, and the court will issue a permanent injunction preventing the government from further enforcement of this unconstitutional statute," said Dan Woods, lead attorney for the case and partner at White & Case. "This is a major victory in the fight for equality and means that military service will be available to all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation."

Log Cabin Republicans brought this suit in October 2004. The case went to trial in July 2010 before the United States District Court of the Central District of California and was decided by Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Releases Statement on Federal Judge Ruling Declaring DADT Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) , a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) , released the following statement tonight on the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips declaring DADT unconstitutional.

Statement from Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

"We're pleased by the judge's decision, but this decision is likely to be appealed and will linger for years. Congress made the DADT law 17 years ago and Congress should repeal it. The Senate will have the opportunity to do just that this month and most Americans think the Senate should seize it."

Palm Center Statement, Sept. 10, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, CA -- Today the Palm Center released a statement in response to U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips' ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. the United States of America which declared the statute known as 'don't ask, don't tell' to be unconstitutional.

"Judge Phillips ruling on 'don't ask, don't tell' is historic and makes clear that there is no legal or military justification for banning gay service in the military," stated Aaron Belkin Director of the Palm Center. "It now comes down to the Senate in September" added Belkin. "A vote on the Defense Authorization bill would allow the Pentagon to put forward a new policy of non-discrimination in 2011." Belkin and former Palm Center Senior Fellow Nathaniel Frank were among the expert witnesses who testified in this case.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to announce shortly whether the September legislative calendar will include consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, which currently includes repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.'

A Pentagon Working Group addressing implementation of 'don't ask, don't tell' will submit its report on or before December 1st. The Palm Center has stated that the Working Group's recommendations should include an affirmative non-discrimination policy.

"This is a landmark decision and the Log Cabin Republicans should be recognized for the strength of their challenge," stated Palm Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff. "The compelling testimony of veterans like Alex Nicholson and others showed the harm done by this law."

According to Judge Phillips' "the discharge of these service men and women had a direct and deleterious effect." She noted the negative impact of losing mission critical talent; the acceptance of waivers for felons; and the financial costs of the ban. Judge Phillips also noted the decline of discharges during wartime and also dispelled concerns regarding privacy and the challenge that gay service undermines unit cohesion.

Servicemembers United Statement on Federal Judge Ruling Declaring DADT Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, proudly hailed today's announcement that U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips has ruled that the 17-year old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law is unconstitutional. Judge Phillips also indicated that she will issue a permanent injunction barring the Department of Defense from carrying out further discharges.

"This is an historic moment and an historic ruling for the gay military community and for the readiness and integrity of our Armed Forces" said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former multi-lingual U.S. Army interrogator who was discharaged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' "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."

The case through which the law was struck down, Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A., was originally filed in 2004 by the gay Republican organization Log Cabin Republicans. Servicemembers United's Executive Director, J. Alexander Nicholson, is the sole named injured party in the lawsuit.

The full 85-page ruling from Judge Phillilps can be found at: www.ServicemembersUnited.org/lawsuit

Statement from HRC President Joe Solmonese regarding a decision by a federal judge ruling the ban on openly lesbian and gay service members unconstitutional:

"Today a federal judge affirmed what the vast majority of the American people know to be true — that it's time for the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law to be sent to the dustbin of history. With this legal victory in hand, Congress is right now in a perfect position to strengthen our national security by ending a law that has discharged thousands of capable service members. With House passage already secured, the Senate can and should vote in the next few weeks to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and allow every qualified man and woman the chance to serve with honor."

Statement from Chad Griffin, Board President, The American Foundation for Equal Rights on Court's Ruling in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Case

"Today's court decision declaring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional is yet another significant and long-overdue step toward full equality for all Americans. Along with the recent federal court decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8, it is clear that our nation is moving toward the day when every American will be treated equally under the law, as is required by our Constitution."

http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/press-releases/afer-statement-on-dadt-ruling

Also see www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php For full news coverage for Windy City Times by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service


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