On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals agreed to dismiss the case which declared “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell” unconstitutional, gay weekly Metro
The legal challenge to the policy was
filed by gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.
Last September, U.S. District Judge
Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the law which banned gay and bisexual
troops from serving openly was unconstitutional. The government
appealed the ruling and the appeals court in San Francisco put the
ruling on hold as it considered the government's motion to dismiss.
In December, Congress approved and
President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that repeals “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell” and the policy expired on September 20.
“This suit became moot when the
repeal of section 654 took effect on September 20,” the court
wrote. “The repeal, in short, gave Log Cabin 'everything' its
complaint 'hoped to achieve.'”
“We therefore vacate the judgment of
the district court. … We vacate the district court's judgment,
injunction, opinions, orders, and factual findings – indeed, all of
its past ruling – to clear the path completely for any future
Log Cabin lawyers had argued that
vacating the ruling would allow the government to reintroduce the
policy at a later date.
“If this case does not go forward on
the merits and if you do not affirm it on the merits, the government
will be completely unconstrained in its ability to again ban gay
service in the military,” Dan Woods, an attorney for Log Cabin
Republicans, told the court.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), lamented the ruling but
added that the case had helped rally support for repeal.
“This decision from the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals was not unexpected, but we do regret that the court
did not uphold Judge Phillips' ruling that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
was unconstitutional. Notwithstanding today's decision, the Log
Cabin case, like the Cook case before it, played a major role in
persuading policy makers to repeal DADT,” Sarvis said.