Lambda Legal Disappointed by Decision to Vacate Ruling Finding DADT Unconstitutional
(Los Angeles, September 29, 2011)—Jon Davidson, Legal Director at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement regarding today's decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacating an earlier U.S. District Court ruling declaring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) unconstitutional.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Ninth Circuit chose to erase the factual findings and legal conclusions reached after years of litigation and a lengthy trial that thousands upon thousands of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members' constitutional rights were violated for 18 years by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" Davidson said. "The end of antigay discrimination by the military was required by the Constitution, not just by political considerations."
"It is wrong to require the more than 14,000 service members who were unconstitutionally discharged to start from square one in obtaining the military benefits they lost, getting their military records corrected, and fighting government efforts to collect educational loans they were prevented from working off, among other harms," he added. "The work to end the damage done by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is far from done and we call on the administration to provide justice to those our country has wronged."
The case is Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America, in which U.S. District Court Judge Phillips in 2010 declared DADT unconstitutional. She ruled not only that DADT violated the rights of LGBT soldiers by depriving them of their rights to free speech and due process; it also had a "direct and deleterious effect" on military readiness. Lambda Legal filed two friend-of-the-court briefs in this case asking the 9th Circuit to lift the stay on the District Court ruling, as well as urging the Court to find DADT unconstitutional.
Contact: Tom Warnke; 213-382-7600 ex 247;[email protected]
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.