Attorneys representing the Log Cabin Republicans in a federal lawsuit against "don't ask, don't tell" on Friday called to the stand an officer who had been discharged as a result of the policy, despite any personal admission that he was gay.
Maj. Mike Almy testified that he did not violate DADT, but was discharged after a fellow service member conducted a search of his private e-mails while stationed in Iraq. Almy refused to sign discharge papers that listed "homosexual admission" as the reason for his dismissal from the military. "I could not sign that because I had not admitted anything to the Air Force," Almy testified.
After he was confronted with the e-mails and was told he was relieved of duty, Almy said he was "completely devastated. I drove myself home. I took my uniform off and I curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor like a baby and bawled for several hours."
Justice Department attorneys said that the witness testimony from discharged service members is irrelevant to the larger question of whether DADT hurts military readiness, the Associated Press reports. Though the Obama administration has called for repeal of DADT, the Justice Department is vigorously defending the policy in court, arguing that Congress had a legitimate interest in passing the law in 1993 in order to protect unit cohesion and military readiness.
Representing the national gay Republican group that filed the lawsuit in 2004, attorney Dan Woods has argued that the government denies gays and lesbians "the privilege of serving their country if they choose to be as candid and honest about their human nature as their heterosexual comrades are."
During opening statements on Tuesday, Woods said the legal landscape regarding the rights of gays and lesbians has shifted dramatically since DADT became law, most notably with the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws. "We intend to prove at this trial that 'don't ask, don't tell' does not advance an important government interest, that its intrusions into the constitutional rights of homosexuals do not significantly further any important government interest, and that those intrusions are not necessary to further any important government interest," Woods said to the court.