In the latest legal back-and-forth over "don't ask, don't tell," attorneys for the Log Cabin Republicans urged a federal judge Friday to reject arguments by the Justice Department to keep the policy in place pending appeal in the case.
On Thursday the Justice Department asked U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips to stay her decision barring enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell," which she ruled unconstitutional in September.
A senior Pentagon personnel official warned the court that an immediate end to DADT "will cause significant disruptions to the force in the short term and, in the long term, would likely undermine the effectiveness of any transition to accepting open service by gays and lesbians in the event the law is repealed or eliminated." The official, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, urged no change in the policy before completion of a Pentagon review, due December 1, and subsequent service member training and education efforts by the Defense Department.
Nonsense, replied lead Log Cabin attorney and White and Case partner Dan Woods, who called the government's claim of hardship "a red herring" in a Friday court filing.
"[T]he heart of the government’s argument in its application [for a stay of the injunction] is to bemoan the administrative and rulemaking burden that would supposedly be placed on the military if the Court’s injunction remains in place, and to plead that the current military Working Group be allowed to complete its 'orderly,' if ponderous, research and recommendations project without interference from courts fulfilling their constitutional function," Woods wrote. "Homosexual servicemembers are fighting and dying today in two wars for their fellow Americans’ Constitutional rights; their own Constitutional rights should not be held hostage to an uncertain bureaucratic process that wants time to develop educational and training materials."
Woods added that allowing enforcement of DADT to continue "would have the effect of continuing to weaken our national security, a result the government should be ashamed to be seeking."
Update: Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, which filed the suit, issued the following statement:
"At the same time the Pentagon was complying with the injunction against enforcing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ President Obama’s attorneys were making the argument that compliance would be impossible. Log Cabin Republicans believes that the Department of Justice is severely underestimating the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. The United States military is the most powerful, most adaptable armed force in the world. It has dealt with racial integration and greatly expanded opportunities for women, and has grown stronger because of it. Open service for gay and lesbian Americans will be no different."