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It's Not Over Until It's Over: Log Cabin Heads Back to Court

It's Not Over Until It's Over: Log Cabin Heads Back to Court

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Although "don't ask, don't tell" is certainly ending later this month, the Log Cabin Republicans return to court today hoping to ensure it can never return.

Dan Woods, an attorney representing the national organization of gay Republicans, will present arguments to a panel of federal judges in a case demanding that the U.S. government allow openly gay people to serve in the military even though it already plans to end the policy on September 20. R. Clarke Cooper, the executive director for Log Cabin, told The Advocate that while the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is imminent, the organization is hoping to ensure that a legal precedent is established in court. Republicans such as Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann have said they would like to see "don't ask, don't tell" reinstated if elected president.

Cooper said that's why the organization had launched a three-pronged approach toward eradicating the antigay law: lobbying Republican members of Congress to support repeal, consulting with military officials including former Defense secretary Robert Gates, and the lawsuit.

In October 2010, U.S. district court judge Virginia Phillips ruled that the military's ban on openly gay soldiers was unconstitutional. She also issued an injunction, ending all enforcement for "don't ask, don't tell," which lasted a little more than a week before the Department of Justice filed an appeal. Since her ruling, Congress passed a law to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," and the nation's top commanders, including President Obama, have signed off on the policy change. Each branch of the military also instituted training for all of its personnel.

Cooper did not want to speculate what the government's argument in the appeal could be, since it is clear that "don't ask, don't tell" is coming to an end, but he said lawyers may be aiming to ensure that the earlier ruling does not open up the floodgates for people who were previously discharged to sue the government. He added that the Log Cabin Republicans, however, are moving forward on this case to prevent a future administration from tampering with the law.

"One of the things that needs to be considered is that some think ["don't ask, don't tell"] repeal should be repealed," he said. Watch video below of Republican candidates stating their opposition to repeal and some supporting reinstatement.

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