Justice Department Challenges Order Blocking Discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy

October 14, 2010 12:00 am

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ACLU Continues To Urge DOJ Not To Appeal

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NEW YORK – The Department of Justice (DOJ) today asked a federal court to block a judicial order to cease enforcement of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The order was issued by a federal judge on Tuesday. Earlier today, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to appeal the order.

“We are very disappointed that the administration has sought to block the order halting the enforcement of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As discouraging as the government’s action may be, a request for a stay is not an appeal, and there is still time for the administration to review its position and decide against appealing the court order,” said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “The judge correctly recognized that this unconstitutional and discriminatory program harms those who serve our country. The administration has more than discharged any duty it has to defend the statute, and should not seek an appeal. This counterproductive and baseless policy must be brought to an end.”

Judge Virginia Phillips of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued the worldwide injunction on Tuesday as a result of a successful challenge to the policy by the Log Cabin Republicans. In a letter sent earlier today, the ACLU asked the attorney general to allow the judge’s order to stand.

“[T]he Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has agreed that allowing openly gay people to serve is ‘the right thing to do,'” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in the letter. “So here, the military judgment acknowledged and accepted by the District Court is that the policy impedes military effectiveness. That judgment by the military itself makes the unconstitutionality of the law plain, and counsels against any appeal.”

The letter also notes that the government had an opportunity to defend the policy in court, but could offer nothing in the way of a credible, factual defense.

The letter to Holder can be viewed at: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/letter-attorney-general-holder-dadt-injunction

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