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Log Cabin Wants DADT Injunction

Log Cabin Wants DADT Injunction


Lawyers for the Log Cabin Republicans asked a federal judge Friday to impose an injunction halting the military's "unconstitutional "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

LCR lawyer Dan Woods made the request in a packed courtroom in Riverside, Calif. while presenting closing arguments in LCR's federal case challenging the constitutionality of "don't ask, don't tell." He asked U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips to issue an injunction upon the government to stop discharging gay and lesbian soldiers under the law "wherever [the federal government seeks] to apply or enforce 'don't ask, don't tell,' in any state of this country, or any other country of the world where the defendants might seek to enforce it."

She is expected to present a written verdict, though it may take many weeks before she submits her decision. Experts say she may hold out until after Congress decides whether or not to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

In his closing argument, Justice Department attorney Paul Freeborne argued, as his legal team has throughout the trial, the Log Cabin Republicans do not have the legal standing to sue the government regarding "don't ask, don't tell."

"This decision is not one to be made by courts," Freeborne said in his closing statement. "This issue is one best served in political branches."

The Justice Department lawyers' argument has been that Congress acted rationally in 1993, when the policy was drafted, based on the testimony, research, and other evidence provided to them at the time. The lawyers did not assert whether the law was right or necessary.

The government also called into question J. Alexander Nicholson and Lt. Col. John Doe's respective Log Cabin memberships which Woods countered several times throughout the trial. Judge Phillips also said it was established through its bylaws that Doe and Nicholson were members of the organization.

"I really find it inappropriate for the government to be telling the Log Cabin Republicans who is and is not a member," he said after the trial.

Freeborne and the other attorneys could not respond to questions from the media, and had left the courthouse minutes after Phillips released the court.

Log Cabin spokesman Charles Moran said he feels hopeful about the case, given Phillips' pointed questioning of Freeborne during his closing argument, and her support to go forward with the trial over the past year and a half.

"She tore apart the defense," he said. "He couldn't even get past the first page of his closing statement without her questioning."

After the trial, Woods told The Advocate he could not make a prediction about when or how Phillips would rule, but said she "gave us a fair shake."

The case garnered some national and local media attention, but considerably less than another high-profile federal case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which challenges California's ban on gay marriage. Moran admitted a court case in Riverside (about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles) wasn't necessarily appealing or accessible for gay rights supporters or Log Cabin leadership alike to be omnipresent through the trial. Still, he said he was pleased with the support shown for the trial, despite skeptics on the left who may believe the organization had ulterior motives in moving forward with the case under the Obama administration.

"When we first filed this case in 2004, we had to put aside our partisanship with President Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress," he said. "This is the kind of issue where we have to put aside our partisan differences and come together."

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