"Don't ask, don't tell," the military's policy banning openly gay men or women from serving in the military, is set to officially end on Sept. 20. A Republican gay rights group, however, is still fighting the law in court, arguing that gay servicemen will only be guaranteed their full rights once it's affirmed the law is unconstitutional.
The Log Cabin Republicans filed suit against "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT), and it was declared unconstitutional in 2010 by a federal district court judge. The Obama administration has argued that it's preferable to dismantle the law through the legislative process, rather than the courts -- and now that DADT ends on Sept. 20, they argue, the Log Cabin case becomes moot.
President Obamain July of Congress' DADT repeal, and the repeal goes into effect after a 60-day waiting period. The president hailed the certification as the "final major step toward ending the discriminatory" policy.
But Dan Woods, a lawyer for the Log Cabin Republicans, will argue before a court of appeals today that the group's lawsuit should continue. If the appeals court doesn't affirm that DADT is unconstitutional, there's no guarantee it won't be reinstated, he argues.
"Several leading Republican presidential candidates have gone on record promising to 'repeal the repeal,'" Woods said in a statement. "The military could also bypass Congress and enact new regulations, and a new Congress could re-enact DADT."
Several Republicans in the 2012 presidential race have weigh in on issues relating to gay rights. Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and most recently Rick Perry have all signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage promising to support a federal constitutional amendment "defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
Woods also contended the government wants to see the Log Cabin Republican case dismissed so that it won't have to give back-pay or reinstate any servicemen discharged under DADT. "In other words," he said, "our case should remain as a precedent because servicemembers discharged under DADT continue to suffer collateral consequences from their discharges even after repeal becomes effective."
As the Log Cabin Republicans continue their suit, gay rights activist Dan Choi is continuing his legal battle as well. The openly gay former Army lieutenant was arrested last year after handcuffing himself to the White House. He was tried in federal court, but a judge put his trial on hold Wednesday after Choi's defense argued he's being harshly prosecuted because the subject of his protests was DADT.