Court Refuses "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Case
Special Report - June 8, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will not hear an appeal of a case challenging the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Former Army Captain James Pietrangelo II, who claimed that he was discharged from the military under the policy, filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, after a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans, who claimed that the policy violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief in the case, urging the high court to reject the appeal. In the brief, the DOJ noted that other courts “have concluded that Section 654’s classification on the basis of homosexual conduct (and the propensity to engage in such conduct) is rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.”
The lawsuit challenged Section 654 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which states that individuals can be discharged from the military for engaging in or soliciting others to engage in homosexual activities, for stating that they are homosexual or bisexual, or for marrying or attempting to marry someone of the same sex.
Although the DOJ defended the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in this case, President Barack Obama has previously stated that he will work to repeal it. As we reported earlier this year, the President's “Civil Rights” agenda stated: “President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy. ... The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.”
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