The Fight Isn't Over! Tell Holder: Don't defend "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Senate Republicans have blocked the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" – but the fight isn't over. Senate leaders have promised to consider the bill again after the election, and a federal district court recently ruled that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional.
If Attorney General Eric Holder agrees not to fight this decision, this discriminatory law could soon become a relic of the past.
The Justice Department may be our best hope to repeal this law – but we need your help to make sure the Administration gets the message. Sign the petition now!
- U.S. Attorney General
On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), I respectfully write to request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) refrain from appealing the federal district court decision in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which declares the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law unconstitutional based on the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and free speech.
After gathering significant evidence, including testimony by six discharged service members and seven expert witnesses, the decision states that DADT does not further the government's interest in military readiness or unit cohesion. In addition, the decision acknowledges that the military is discharging qualified service members, including those with skills critical for the military's success, during a time of troop shortages. Since the DADT law was passed in 1993, over 14,000 service members have been discharged because of DADT, nearly 1,000 of whom were specialists with vital mission critical skills. This discriminatory law hurts military readiness and our national security while putting American service members fighting overseas at risk.
While enactment of DADT was originally based on the mistaken premise that openly lesbian and gay service members would weaken our national security by hurting military readiness and unit cohesion, the President has acknowledged that this premise is false. On June 29, 2009, President Obama declared, "reversing this policy [is] the right thing to do [and] is essential for national security." In addition to the President's acknowledgement that repealing DADT is "essential for national security," the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have also recognized that the discriminatory DADT law should be repealed. The leaders of our nation's armed forces understand that DADT serves no purpose in the laws of our nation; it is time for the DOJ to stop defending this law.
We understand that the DOJ is currently evaluating whether to appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The facts presented in the case add to the ever-growing list of evidence illustrating that Congress lacked even a rational basis for enacting DADT. Based on the mounting evidence, we urge the DOJ to refrain from appealing the case to the Ninth Circuit.
This decision affirms what the vast majority of the American people know to be true – that it's time for DADT to be sent to the dustbin of history. We appreciate the Administration's support of the legislative efforts to repeal DADT, but we expect the DOJ to recognize the overwhelming evidence that proves DADT is unconstitutional. Thank you for your attention this matter. We look forward to a day when DADT no longer exists in our nation's laws.
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