Last edited: December 07, 2004

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Files Constitutional Challenge to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a blight on the conscience of our nation. It’s time to bring this shameful policy to an end.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, December 6, 2004

On Monday morning, SLDN filed an historic constitutional challenge to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Twelve former lesbian and gay service members—all veterans of the War on Terror—are seeking reinstatement in the armed forces and an end to the military’s gay ban.

Today, SLDN is asking you to join those brave men and women by taking a stand with them. Because your support, right now, can put “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the road to repeal. With your help, SLDN will demonstrate the constitutional bankruptcy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in federal court – where this shameful policy is most vulnerable to defeat.

In its 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court took a clear and unmistakable view that government intrusion into private intimate relationships violates the U.S. Constitution. The court struck down state sodomy laws and found a “constitutional liberty interest in sexual intimacy between consenting adults in private.”

SLDN believes that the Lawrence decision shatters the military’s legal and moral rationale for denying lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans the right to serve openly. The military’s gay ban also violated the constitutionally protected rights to privacy, equal protection, due process and free speech. So with the pro-bono services of the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr LLP, we filed a landmark lawsuit in U.S. federal court on December 6 to force the military to lift the ban.

ATTENTION SERVICE MEMBERS: Under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you have the right to remain silent and to consult with a defense attorney if you are investigated. Say nothing. Sign nothing. Get legal help. Call SLDN at 202.328.FAIR (3247).

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