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Log Cabin Republicans Attorney to DOJ on DADT: ‘The Government Should Be Ashamed’

Log Cabin Republicans Attorney to DOJ on DADT: ‘The Government Should Be Ashamed’

by Karen Ocamb on September 29, 2011

U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Luz Baustista at DADT Repeal news conference on Sept. 20, 2011 (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

UPDATE 11:42 PST: From Log Cabin:

Lead plaintiff’s attorney in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, Dan Woods of White & Case, emphasized that the case is not over, saying, “We are, of course, disappointed by today’s ruling but we will continue to fight on for the constitutional rights of all people impacted by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This is an important issue for all Americans and we anticipate seeking re-hearing before the full Ninth Circuit.”

UPDATE: A three judge panel has denied the government’s motion to declare the LCR lawsuit moot and to vacate the suit. That means the lawsuit goes on.  THIS IS WRONG. THE CASE HAS BEEN DISMISSED! MORE COMING UP. 

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law was repealed on Sept. 20 – but the discrimination lives on.  As I reported that day, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon:

“Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America’s all about—equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans…As secretary of defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant. … These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that’s what should matter the most.”

At the same time in Los Angeles, U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Luz Bautista came out in uniform, and told reporters at a news conference at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center that she was pregnant and was about to be transferred to Illinois without her son and her partner, who was also stationed in San Diego, because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Attorney and former Marine Capt. Tom Carpenter has been writing about the shortcomings of the DADT Repeal Act for some time.

In order to truly level the playing field for LGB troops and their families, there are 49 major issues that need to be dealt with by the Pentagon.  Most important of these is the lack of protection against discrimination missing in the repeal law.

Since transgendered service members are not covered by DADT but by medical regulations, they have absolutely no right to serve. This use of these medical regulations is instructive.  In reality, the repeal of DADT takes us back to the situation that existed, before the law was passed in 1993, where LGB troops were subject to imprisonment or discharge under the then-existing regulations.

Now the issue of transgender soldiers has come to the fore once again:

 The Louisville Fairness Campaign is drawing attention to the exclusion of gender identity from the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and a soldier who was discharged for being transgender….

Staff Sergeant Rebecca Grant was discharged from the Army National Guard after serving for over a decade. She did tours of duty overseas, including Bosnia and Iraq.

In 2009, a fellow soldier revealed that Grant is transgender, and she was officially kicked out of the military two weeks before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this month.

And of course, there’s the issue of the Republican presidential candidates who would re-instate DADT if elected – and showed their contempt for LGBT servicemembers at the last debate when no one reacted to a crowd booing a video question from an openly gay soldier serving in Iraq.

These are the kinds of issues that the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DADT are trying to address. Having won their case in federal District court, the LCR attorneys have been fighting to keep the lawsuit alive and the judgment intact against the Department of Justice’s efforts to have the suit declared moot now that the law has been repealed.

On Wednesday, LCR attorneys filed a response to the DOJ’s motion to vacate the judgment in Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States.

Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans, said:

“On September 20, 2011, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, became effective.  On that very day, the government filed a motion to erase the 9th Circuit’s decision that by the government’s own admission prompted and accelerated the repeal.  The government should be ashamed to take this step.

While President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and other leaders proclaim the benefits of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the government is inviting the Court to rule that the case never existed.  Government policies may come and go, but our Constitution endures.  So should the district court’s declaratory judgment that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was unconstitutional. We are filing this brief to explain to the court of the important reasons why it should not dismiss the appeal as moot and should not vacate the judgment.”


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Prop 8 Trial Tracker » DADT: Analysis of today’s 9th Circuit decision in the LCR case
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