The gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans
will ask a federal judge on Friday to end “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
Lawyers wrapping up arguments in a
federal trial challenging the law in a California courtroom are
expected to ask U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips to
declare the law that bans gay troops from serving openly
Congress is currently debating whether
to repeal the law and government lawyers have argued throughout the
two-week trial that lawmakers, not a judge, should decide on the fate
of the policy.
President Barack Obama says he supports
repeal of the Clinton-era law.
The high-profile trial has put the
Obama administration in the awkward position of defending a law the
president is against. Similarly, trials on the federal government's
gay marriage ban, DOMA, have forced the administration to turn its
back on the gay community – a core constituency of Democrats.
In defending the policy, government
lawyers stuck to the policy's legislative history.
In his opening remarks, plaintiffs'
lead lawyer Dan Woods said the military excludes gay troops from
service “solely on the basis of status and conduct that is
“No matter how I look at this issue,”
Woods said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we
have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about
who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
Nathaniel Frank, a senior researcher at
the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California,
testified that Congress enacted the policy out of malice towards gay
and lesbian service members. He singled out former senators Sam Nunn
of Georgia and Bob Dole of Kansas as chief advocates of the policy.
Nunn, as chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, denied supporters of open gay service equal
access to testify before his committee on the issue, Frank testified.
“Senator Sam Nunn removed from the
witness list two people when he heard that they were going to testify
in favor of equality,” Frank said. Those people were Colonel
Lucian Truscott III and Barry Goldwater.
Among the service members who testified
at the trial was Joseph Rocha, who
was discharged from the Navy in 2007 after he violated the policy.
He came out to his commanding officer after suffering two years of
abuse from shipmates while on duty on the island of Bahrain between
2004 and 2006.
Taunting and bullying at the hands of
his chief master-at-arms Michael Toussaint began soon after Rocha
declined to take a female prostitute in 2004. Rocha said he did not
report the abuse because he was afraid of losing his job.
“I'm confident that, at least
personally, had 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' not been the policy, I would
have felt confident to report the abuse when it escalated, and not
fear reprisal,” Rocha testified.
Judge Phillips is not expected to rule
on the matter for weeks or longer. Some analysts believe she'll wait
to see if Congress acts.