Federal Court Upholds "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

On September 23, in Able v. USA, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This is the fourth Circuit Court decision upholding this policy, which discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

"The Federal Court did a disservice to all Americans," said Rebecca Isaacs, political director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "In deciding to uphold 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' the Court turned its back on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender servicemembers."

The plaintiffs in this case argued that the policy violated their rights to free speech, equal protection, expressive and intimate association, and that it violates their due process rights. The Court's ruling casts aside their individual interests and instead upholds discrimination.

"Don't Ask; Don't Tell" was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1993 after intense public scrutiny. It was allegedly supposed to stop the witchhunts, which had been standard fare under the Department of Defense policy. It stated that homosexuality was incompatible with military service. In reality, however, military discharges have increased dramatically since the implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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