'Don't ask, don't tell' appeals process continues

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Group suing to end policy blasts Obama administration's defense.

Date:

10/25/2010

10/25/2010

"Lambda Legal argued [in its friend-of-the-court brief] that the government's continued enforcement of 'don't ask, don't tell' 'exacts an intolerably high cost" on the mental and physical health of gay and lesbian service members because they 'must remain on constant high alert, self-policing every word, gesture, and glance that could arouse suspicion regarding their sexual orientation.'

"The policy is also indirectly affecting young gays and lesbians who face verbal or physical harassment for their sexual orientation, Lambda said, citing recent suicides by eight gay teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 19.

"'The government cannot plausibly claim that its actions are unrelated to such tragedies and abuses, so long as it remains the nation's leading model for open discrimination against [gay and lesbian] people,' Lambda said in court papers.

"'It is absurd to pretend that the staggering rates of suicide among gay and lesbian teens that have been recently reported magically sprang into existence, without any connection to what adults are saying and doing,' said Peter Renn, a Lambda Legal staff lawyer. 'The government needs to take its head out of the sand and look around at the damage to which it is contributing.'"

Read more in the Washington Post.