Justice Dept Expected To Appeal DADT Ruling, Defense Dept Still Enforcing Military Ban
October 14th, 2010
The Washington Post says that the Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips declaring “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military ban on gays serving openly, unconstitutional. The administration is expected to seek a stay in the broad injunction issued Tuesday which bars enforcement of DADT immediately and everywhere. I think the Post sums up the situation very well:
The effort to repeal the law barring gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military is nearing a chaotic endgame involving fast-moving courts, a slow-moving military, a lame-duck Congress and an administration increasingly caught in the middle. When the dust settles by the end of the year, the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy could be history – or it could remain on the books, with a new right-leaning Congress disinclined to do anything about it.
If true, then it will make Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s obstinance and cynicism behind his maneuvers before bringing DADT’s repeal up for a vote last month even more unforgivable. Reid, of course, doesn’t shoulder the blame alone. Certainly the Obama Administration’s lack of leadership and, specifically, absence of any lobbying efforts to pass the repeal can’t be ignored.
And, of course, there are the forty Republicans and two Democrats who voted against a measure that more than three-fourths of the American public agree should be passed.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has forgotten once again that under the U.S. Constitution, the military is under civilian control and is not a law unto themselves. Gates claims that following the court order will have “enormous consequences” for the military. Among the “consequences”:
Gates said the Pentagon needs until Dec. 1 to resolve questions such as whether heterosexual troops would be required to share housing with gays and whether the military would be required to provide benefits for same-sex partners of service members.
No other nation that allows gays to serve openly in the military has seen a need to provide segregated housing, an odious suggestion if there ever was one. As for providing benefits for same-sex partners, unfortunately it looks like existing marriage law and military regulations already takes care of it. Same-sex partners would get all the benefits of any other unmarried partner.
t LGBT people are already serving in the military, with many servicemembers aware of LGBT people serving in their ranks. There is no evidence to suggest that their presence has had any sort of impact on unit cohesion.
Twenty one Senate Democrats have written to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., urging that he not appeal the court ruling. Despite the injunction, the Defense Department is still enforcing DADT:
With a briefcase full of commendations under his arm, Omar Lopez walked into an Austin, Tex., recruiting office Wednesday. Mr. Lopez, 29, had served nearly five years in the Navy. He was honorably discharged in 2006 for “homosexual admission,” according to documents he carried. He wanted to re-enlist.
But recruiters turned him away hastily, saying they had no knowledge of any injunction or any change in military policy.