On Wednesday, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach went to federal court seeking a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent his imminent discharge from the Air Force. The decision to discharge Fehrenbach had reached the desk of the Secretary of the Air Force. In addition to the TRO, Victor is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent his discharge. This news created a huge stir in the blogs and traditional media. People seem mystified that President Obama would allow the military to discharge a war hero Fehrenbach.
Well, there’s been no decision by the judge — yet. Just got this from SLDN:
“Negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Air Force and the legal team representing Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach are expected to continue through at least Monday,” said Trevor Thomas, spokesperson for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
That DOJ is even negotiating reinforces my view that the decision to move ahead on the TRO was great work by Fehrenbach’s legal team of SLDN and Morrison & Foerster (seriously, the url for the law firm is mofo.com. You wanna mess with them?)
If the Obama administration’s DOJ actually thinks that DADT will be repealed by Congress (which was argued to the Judge in the Log Cabin case as a reason to postpone the trial), this should be a no-brainer. There should be no need for “negotiations.” But, we’ve seen time and time again that the Obama administration continues to defend DADT even as it discharges servicemembers using that discriminatory policy. Actions here don’t match the President’s words or promises. This has got to end.
SLND has a website dedicated to this proceeding here, which includes this key point:
The discharge of Lt. Col. Fehrenbach would dramatically underscore that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is still the law and all gay and lesbian service members should be on notice.
A couple weeks ago, Dan Choi was discharged. Absent this legal action, the same thing could happened to Fehrenbach. This has to end.
I hope someone at the White House — maybe the two people we were told by Melody Barnes are the tip of the spear for LGBT issues, Tina Tchen and Brian Bond — are paying attention. If Victor gets kicked out, it’s going to reflect badly on the President. After all, on June 29, 2009, Obama looked Victor “right in the eye and he said, ‘We‘re going to get this done.'” Still waiting.
Enough already, Mr. President. As Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday night:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is going to end, the President could stop enforcement of the policy pending that change. Why isn’t he?”
When Robert Gibbs wonders why progressives are upset, this is one shining example.