U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Mark Udall of Colorado sent a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric Holder on Wednesday urging the Department of Justice not to appeal the recent decision from a federal judge that found the "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional.
The letter, reported by Joe Sudbay at Americablog, represents the first formal communication from elected officials to the Justice Department since Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the U.S. district court for the central district of California found "don't ask, don't tell" unconstitutional in the case Log Cabin Republicans v. United States.
In the letter Gillibrand and Udall, both Democrats, ask Holder to allow Congress to accomplish the work of lifting the ban through the National Defense Authorization Act.
"President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have all publicly advocated for the repeal of this harmful law," write the senators. There is no legal or military justification and not one shred of credible evidence that supports continuing the discriminatory DADT law, and considering the guidance of the commander-in-chief and the nation's top two defense officials, we urge you to refrain from seeking an appeal. The federal court decision was a step in the right direction, and we are confident that the Senate will take the ultimate step by voting this fall on the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to permanently lift the ban on gays in the military. Although we understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back those congressional efforts. Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that we can eradicate this discriminatory law permanently and urge the Justice Department to choose not to appeal any court decision that would keep this law in place."