Three openly gay members of Congress
are leading in urging President Obama not to appeal a
federal ruling against “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the
17-year-old law that prohibits gay troops from serving openly.
Representatives Barney Frank of
Massachusetts, Jared Polis of Colorado and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
were joined by sixty-six House Democrats in appealing to the
District Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled earlier this month that
the Pentagon's policy violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights
of gay and lesbian service members. She ruled the policy has a
“direct and deleterious effect” on the armed forces.
Gay GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans
challenged the policy. Phillips is considering whether to grant the
“worldwide, military-wide” injunction against its enforcement the
group has asked for. The Justice Department has argued that the
ruling should be limited to the 19,000 members of the group.
a letter addressed to the president, the sixty-nine Democrats
argued that the administration should stop defending the law.
“Mr. President, in this critical time
when military readiness is paramount we must recognize the importance
of every linguist, flight nurse and infantryman. … In the military
where lives rely on trust and determination, DADT represents
“We hope that you, as the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services, will take this opportunity
to restore integrity to our military and decline to appeal Judge
Obama campaigned on the promise to end
the Clinton-era policy, but he's remained mum through most of the
“Don't Ask” opponents won a second
case on Friday, when a
federal judge in Washington ordered the U.S. Air Force to reinstate
Major Margaret Witt, a flight nurse who was discharged in 2006 for
violating the policy.
in between the court rulings is last week's failed effort to
legislatively repeal the policy.
Several senators – including Kirsten
Gillibrand of New York and Mark Udall of Colorado – have also urged
the president not to appeal the ruling.
Groups lobbying for repeal, however,
said they believe the administration will appeal Phillips' ruling.