Court Finds DADT Challenge Moot

by maureenemccarty

A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that the question of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law’s constitutionality is moot following repeal of the law on September 20, 2011. It is disappointing that the three judge panel reached this conclusion, leaving unresolved harms that service members continue to experience and may now require additional litigation.

In April, HRC joined Lambda Legal, Knights Out, Outserve, and the Anti-Defamation League on an Amicus Curiae brief arguing that the law’s constitutionality would remain a relevant question even after the law was repealed because some service members continue to face harm post-repeal. For example, some service members discharged under DADT wrongly received dishonorable discharges that the government has yet to remedy; many must carry discharge documentation that subjects them to the risk of employment discrimination because the documents reveal their sexual orientation; and others face recoupment efforts by the government for debts incurred as a result of incomplete service (e.g., enlistment bonuses and tuition fees).

HRC thanks Log Cabin Republicans for their work to expose the harms experienced by lesbian and gay service members under the former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute.

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