Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Republicans vs. the Military: Can Log Cabin's Court Challenge to the Military's Gay Ban Succeed in a Time of War?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Republicans vs. the Military: Can Log Cabin's Court Challenge to the Military's Gay Ban Succeed in a Time of War?

Article excerpt

In a move that surprised many legal advocates, lawyers for the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans on October 12 filed a federal challenge to the military s ban on openly gay service members, claiming that it violates their constitutional rights. But is this the right time?

Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero called the lawsuit against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy "an unprecedented opportunity" given a number of recent and supportive court rulings, including the Supreme Court's pro-gay decision in Lawrence v. Texas last year. "We believe this particular case is something we should undertake," Guerriero said, noting that the powerful law firm of White and Case is representing his group.

But the courts are reluctant to demand changes in military policy when the armed services are staging major offensives, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Tobias Barrington Wolff, a University of California, Davis, law professor and expert on "don't ask, don't tell." "Even though the policy is unconstitutional, you are asking the federal judiciary to step in at the moment when it is most difficult for them to do so," he argued. "Winning on an issue like this requires collaboration with people in the field who have expertise. …

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