Judge In Upcoming DADT Federal Trail BLOCKS Obama Administrations Request To Limit Testimony

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips who will be hearing a case brought against the Obama Administration challenging the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law brought by the Log Cabin Republicans (go figure on that one.) has ruled AGAINT the Departmernt of Justice and the Obama Administration’s effort to bar all testimony on whether Don’t ask, Don’t tell actually benefits the military and how it’s affected the lives of individual service members.

According to Justice Department lawyers, the only pertinent question is whether Congress could have rationally decided when it passed the law in 1993 that it would make the military more effective by reducing potential sources of conflict. It’s legally irrelevant, the government lawyers say, that the Log Cabin Republicans have researchers prepared to testify that the law was irrational from the start and hasn’t accomplished its stated goals, or that former gay and lesbian service members could testify about their discharges.

But Phillips, who will preside over the non-jury trial, said Friday she doesn’t plan to limit the evidence to whatever Congress may have considered in 1993. She pointed to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2003 that overturned laws banning private homosexual conduct. As Phillips noted, the court didn’t confine itself to reviewing the legislative records in Texas, where the case arose, but considered the purpose and effect of the law before striking it down as an intrusion on personal privacy.

Phillips hasn’t ruled yet on the critical legal question in the case — whether the government can justify the law by citing any conceivable reason for its enactment, or whether administration lawyers will have to show that the ban actually serves a legitimate government purpose. She also hasn’t ruled on the government’s request to delay the trial until Congress acts on legislation to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell

The Log Cabin Republicans’ lawyers say they anticipate favorable rulings on those issues as well and expect to go to trial this month with a good chance of getting the 17-year-old law tossed out.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration and the Department of Justice is going to be defending the discriminatory DADT law in court next week. And, the Obama administration and DOJ continue to defend DOMA in federal courts.  And as for the DADT (Non) Repeal Compromise which does actually nothing to protect gays and lesbians against discharge . It could be awhile before Congress acts on legislation to repeal the law. We’re hearing that Senate consideration of the Defense authorization bill, which contains the compromise repeal language, won’t begin until September. Assuming the repeal language remains in the defense bill, a vote on the conference report could be delayed until December.

So I ask you, where is the change and advocacy we were promised by Obama?  Because asking Courts to uphold “separate, but equal” laws isn’t exactly change.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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