"Don't ask, don't tell" got the Supreme Court's silent treatment again yesterday when justices refused to consider whether President Clinton's policy on homosexuals in the military is constitutional.
Richard Dirk Selland, a lieutenant on the nuclear attack submarine Hammerhead who was discharged for declaring his sexual orientation, failed in a challenge based on provisions of the First and 14th amendments.
His appeal, virtually identical to that rejected in the case of Paul Thomasson, focused on equating the status of being homosexual with a "propensity to engage in" forbidden homosexual acts.
Mr. Selland, a supply officer, declared his homosexuality a day after the first inauguration of Mr. Clinton, who campaigned on a promise to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military.
The court also refused to take two other high-profile cases involving sexual issues.
The justices let stand a $300 damage judgment and more than $10,000 in lawyers' fees Ann Hacklander-Ready must pay Caryl Sprague for violating the fair-housing ordinance of Madison, Wis., by rejecting Miss Sprague because of her sexual orientation. Miss Hacklander-Ready said the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with her right of association and with her choice of who shares the house where she lives.
The lower court essentially ruled she subjected herself to laws governing landlords by assuming responsibility for renting rooms in a house where she rented space from her landlord.
She and housemate Maureen Rowe ran afoul of the law while trying to find two housemates. They rejected one as too boring and another for "seeming to wear her religious beliefs on her sleeve," and they said a lesbian would make them uncomfortable.
"The illegal conduct at issue involves rational and thoughtful decision-making processes concerning the lifestyle compatibility of a potential housemate," Miss Hacklander-Ready said.