DADT Appeal: Gay Soldiers Must Wait for Broken Senate to End Discrimination
October 15, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—-President Obama told a crowd of bright-eyed youngsters at a MTV town hall meeting, when asked about “Don’t ask, don’t tell” that “This policy will end. It will end on my watch.” The next day the Justice Department appealed an injunction imposed by a federal judge to stop the enforcement of the discriminatory policy in our military? Why? The President and the military brass want to go through normal channels and have the odious law repealed in the Senate. Last month, the entire Republican caucus in the upper chamber filibustered a defense funding bill because it contained a measure to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” That’s right, the full force of elderly homophobic right-wing senators blocked the repeal of a discriminatory and unconstitutional rule that has resulted in the discharge of thousands of dedicated and talented men and women, simply because of their sexual orientation. It’s an outrage and it must stop. But the White House and the Pentagon have now placed the repeal of DADT in the hands of the dysfunctional senate. Worse, after the November elections the ideological makeup of the senate is expected to become more right-wing. And the Democrats may even lose majority rule. It doesn’t look particularly encouraging for an end to “Don’t ask, don’t tell” on President Obama’s “watch.”
Meanwhile, the justice department is asking U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips to withdraw her worldwide injunction blocking enforcement of DADT, to allow the government time to appeal her underlying ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
The LA Times writes:
“The Justice Department asked a federal judge Thursday to set aside her decision stopping the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays and lesbians in the military until it can appeal the ruling, saying the decision would “irreparably harm our military and the national security of the United States.”‘
“Government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Riverside that if she did not lift her order by Monday, they would ask the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to halt it. If the appeals court in San Francisco fails to act, the government probably will ask the Supreme Court to intervene to prevent an abrupt change to the military, which says it is not yet prepared to handle the transition.”
Judge Phillips has previously ruled that DADT was not only unconstitutional under the due process clause and the 1st Amendment but the policy had a “direct and deleterious effect’’ on the military. She rejected the government’s arguments that striking down the policy prematurely would harm the troops during two wars. And she ultimately issued an injunction.
Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for overall military readiness, trotted out the government’s argument that the DADT injunction would arm military readiness. “The stakes are so high, and the potential harm so great, that caution is in order,” he said.
And Stanley issued an ominous warning to gay men and women currently serving their country in our armed forces. Although the Pentagon has suspended enforcement of DADT, while Judge Phillip’s injunction remains in effect, if it’s lifted during the appeals process, gay service members would be discharged if their sexual orientation was made known.
The time to end this discriminatory policy is now, not when a bunch of right-wing senators can be convinced to do the right thing.
Photo Source: U.S. Navy