Will ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ End in Judge Phillips’ Courtroom?

October 19, 2010

(ChattahBox US News)—-The discriminatory policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” may finally undergo its last death throes in the Southern California courtroom of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips. After a decade of homophobic double speak keeping the anti-gay policy firmly in place, resulting in nearly 13,000 “outed” service men and women being unceremoniously discharged, one federal judge refused to turn away from the obvious constitutional flaws in the odious policy. And she rejected the military’s stale argument that allowing gays to serve openly would endanger military readiness and troop cohesion. Because as we all know, gay men and women have been serving alongside their heterosexual comrades in arms for years without any harm to troop cohesion. During yesterday’s hearing, Judge Phillips tentatively kept the worldwide injunction against the implementation of DADT in place, while admonishing the government for its “vague” defense of DADT that does not reflect the reality in the field.

The case against DADT was brought, ironically, by the gay advocacy group Log Cabin Republicans. Last month, the judge ruled that the DADT policy was unconstitutional and it also had a “direct and deleterious effect’’ on the military.

Judge Phillips later issued an injunction, again rejecting the government’s arguments. The Department of Justice quickly filed an appeal to her stay.

During yesterday’s hearing, she particularly took aim at the over-the-top testimony given by Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for overall military readiness.

“The stakes are so high, and the potential harm so great, that caution is in order,” he said.

If that were the case, Phillips asked, then why has the military been selective in its enforcement of the policy?

The LA Times writes:

“U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said the government failed to provide sufficient proof that her injunction halting the policy would cause “irreparable harm” to the military or that the government’s appeal would be successful. Phillips planned to issue her final decision early Tuesday.” […]

‘”The arguments by the government are vague … and belied by the evidence produced at trial,” Phillips said Monday. She also chastised the federal government lawyers for not filing their objections when she was considering the injunction.”

The Pentagon is complying with Judge Phillips’ injunction but has warned gay soldiers not to be too quick to come out, because if the stay is lifted they would be subject to discharge proceedings.

The Pentagon and the Department of Justice argue that the policy should be repealed by congress. But that’s not likely to happen in our lifetime.

A bill, conditional on the completion of the military’s survey and final report, already passed through the House. But the entire Republican caucus in the Senate filibustered a defense appropriations bill because it contained a measure to repeal DADT.

And Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the former Maverick who was for the repeal of DADT, before he was against it, declared this week he would filibuster any attempt to repeal DADT in the lame duck congress.

President Obama has pledged that he would ensure that DADT would be repealed on his “watch.” But the dysfunctional, obstructionist Senate is expected to become more right-wing and homophobic after the November elections.

All eyes are now on U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips. She is expected to issue a final ruling today. The federal government will then take its “vague” baloney arguments to the federal appellate court.


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