Main | Friday, December 05, 2008

Air Force Loses DADT Appeal

The case for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" moved forward yesterday when a federal court refused an appeal from the Air Force.
A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reconsider a ruling that raised doubts about the constitutionality of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military, a decision that could give President-elect Barack Obama a chance to act quickly on his promise to repeal the policy.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the Air Force's request for a rehearing of a May 21 decision reviving a suit by a female officer in Washington state who was discharged because she had a relationship with another woman.

The three-judge panel in that decision said the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling overturning state laws against gay sex established a new level of constitutional protection for gays and lesbians. Under that standard, the appeals court said, the military can't automatically discharge all openly gay soldiers, but must prove in each case that dismissal would promote troop readiness or unit cohesion.
Barack Obama will need the approval of Congress to order the repeal of DADT, but this development will help his case.

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