Federal Court Halts "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Again; Lambda Legal Calls for Cautious Celebration

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"The federal court did the right thing. But before servicemembers put their careers at risk by coming out, they should recognize that every possible appeal is not yet exhausted."
July 6, 2011
Jon W. Davidson

"This is a stunning development."

(San Francisco, July 6, 2011)—Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on the injunction issued by the district court in the Log Cabin Republicans' challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). The government is once again enjoined from enforcing DADT anywhere in the world. The government was enjoined once before for eight days, before a different set of Ninth Circuit judges issued the stay of the injunction in this case.

Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Legal Director Jon Davidson:

"This is a stunning development. It shows how important it is that the Department of Justice now recognizes that sexual orientation discrimination should be presumed to be unconstitutional and that courts should examine such discrimination carefully, as the Department of Justice forcefully argued in its brief filed last Friday in our DOMA challenge (Golinski v. OPM), which today's Ninth Circuit order expressly referenced.

"The federal court did the right thing, preventing the government from enforcing the discriminatory DADT law. But before service members put their careers at risk by coming out, they should recognize that every possible appeal is not yet exhausted. We've been on this roller-coaster ride before.

"We need to see what happens next. The government could ask the Ninth Circuit judges who just lifted the stay to reimpose it while they ask a larger group of Ninth Circuit judges to again issue a stay or while they ask the Supreme Court to reimpose the stay.

"We congratulate the Log Cabin Republicans, who have never given up fighting to make sure that DADT is finally ended."

The case is Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America. Lambda Legal previously filed an amicus brief asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay. It also filed an amicus brief on behalf of itself; Knights Out; Outserve; Human Rights Campaign and the Anti-Defamation League, urging the Court to find DADT unconstitutional.


Contact: Leslie Gabel-Brett: 212-809-8585 x 245; Cell: 860-214-3557; [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.


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