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U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Headed to Trial in June 2010 PDF Print E-mail

The highly contentious policy banning openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals from serving in the U.S. military (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) has been extensively debated since it was first enacted in December 1993. Since that time, many challenges to the policy have been made, but the case now garnering the most attention is one filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, which is scheduled for trial in June 2010 in Federal Court in Southern California. Log Cabin Republicans, a nonprofit group, initially filed its challenge to the constitutionality of the policy in 2004. Specifically, the lawsuit seeks a ruling that the policy violates constitutional protections of due process and freedom of speech.

“Some five years after this case was first brought, we are now within striking distance of putting this misguided policy to the constitutional test it deserves,” said Dan Woods, a partner in the Los Angeles office of White & Case, who is representing the Log Cabin Republicans. “This country is now fighting two wars, and gay and lesbian members of our Armed Forces are serving their country honorably and dying on the battlefield even as the U.S. military officially seeks to bar them from service.”

While many believed that the election of President Obama would help put a swift end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” such change has not materialized. Despite the President’s acknowledgement that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” “weakens our national security,” the policy remains in full force and effect. Indeed, hundreds of people have been discharged from the country’s armed forces under the policy since he took office and thousands more have either not re-enlisted or not enlisted this year. Meanwhile, the President’s lawyers continue to fight the lawsuit in court.

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