Blade on military’s recoupment penalties it charges gay DADT victims

This is the issue Joe and I wrote about a week or so ago, and about which we posted this open letter to Defense Secretary Gates, that now has over 5,000 signatures – please add yours.

Chris Johnson in the Washington Blade:

For Sara Isaacson, separation from the University of North Carolina’s Army ROTC program because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” comes with a price tag of $ 79,265.

Isaacson told the Washington Blade she understands the U.S. military wants to protect its investment in training her, but she hopes to repay her debt by serving in the armed forces as opposed to paying the expenses out of pocket.

“I have always said the goal is still to serve my country and I want to be able to fulfill my commitment by serving in uniform,” she said. “The military right now is not allowing me to do that, so I don’t think it’s fair that they’re asking for the tuition back.”

Isaacson, 22 and a lesbian, said she hasn’t yet graduated from college and doesn’t know how she could pay the money that the U.S. military is seeking.

“I’m a few classes away from graduating and I don’t have $ 80,000 to repay the military,” she said.

Nicholson said he’s been “hounding” White House officials on the recoupment issue even prior to signing of repeal legislation.

Part of the reason for keeping the practice in place, Nicholson said, was that the Obama administration didn’t want to take action before the Pentagon working group published its report on implementing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

“Obviously, we realized when that report came out that it was not something they addressed, so we obviously started hounding them again on this,” Nicholson said.

Noting that current law gives the Pentagon discretion over whether or not to collect recoupment fees, Nicholson said ending the practice would be a “simple fix” because it would only require an order from President Obama.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Federal Court Overturns Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy: Read the Ruling Here

A federal judge has declared the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy unconstitutional and barred the military from enforcing it, ruling in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.

Soldier The L.A. Times reports:

"A federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional Thursday, saying the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men. U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy banning gays did not preserve military readiness, contrary to what many supporters have argued, saying evidence shows that the policy in fact had a 'direct and deleterious effect' on the military. Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended 'don’t ask, don’t tell' during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision."

Phillips has given the plaintiffs until September 16 to submit a proposed judgment, including a permanent injunction, consistent with the Court's opinion. The Department of Justice then must submit its objections by September 23.

Said LCR executive director R. Clarke Cooper: "As an American, a veteran and an Army reserve officer, I am proud the court ruled that the arcane ‘don't ask, don't tell’ statute violates the Constitution. Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican service members, but all American service members."

The court agreed to hear the case on June 29. Earlier in June, the Department of Justice asked the judge to defer proceedings in the case "because the political branches have taken concrete steps to facilitate repeal of the DADT statute." 

Closing arguments were held in the case on July 23, at which time the plaintiffs asked the court to declare the policy unconstitutional and issue an injunction, which Phillips did today.

The AP adds: "Government lawyers argued Phillips lacked the authority to issue a nationwide injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress…Six military officers who were discharged under the policy testified during the trial. A decorated Air Force officer testified that he was let go after his peers snooped through his personal e-mail in Iraq…Lawyers also submitted remarks by Obama stating 'don't ask, don't tell' weakens national security."

Alex-nicholson The case through which the law was struck down, Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A., was originally filed in 2004. Servicemembers United's Executive Director, J. Alexander Nicholson (pictured), is the sole named injured party in the lawsuit.

Said Nicholson, a former multi-lingual U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.': "This is an historic moment and an historic ruling for the gay military community and for the readiness and integrity of our Armed Forces. As the only named injured party in this case, I am exceedingly proud to have been able to represent all who have been impacted and had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy. We are finally on our way to vindication." 

HERE'S THE RULING:

DADT Unconstitutional


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Federal Court Overturns Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy: Read the Ruling Here

A federal judge has declared the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy unconstitutional and barred the military from enforcing it, ruling in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.

Soldier The L.A. Times reports:

"A federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional Thursday, saying the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men. U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy banning gays did not preserve military readiness, contrary to what many supporters have argued, saying evidence shows that the policy in fact had a 'direct and deleterious effect' on the military. Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended 'don’t ask, don’t tell' during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision."

Phillips has given the plaintiffs until September 16 to submit a proposed judgment, including a permanent injunction, consistent with the Court's opinion. The Department of Justice then must submit its objections by September 23.

Said LCR executive director R. Clarke Cooper: "As an American, a veteran and an Army reserve officer, I am proud the court ruled that the arcane ‘don't ask, don't tell’ statute violates the Constitution. Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican service members, but all American service members."

The court agreed to hear the case on June 29. Earlier in June, the Department of Justice asked the judge to defer proceedings in the case "because the political branches have taken concrete steps to facilitate repeal of the DADT statute." 

Closing arguments were held in the case on July 23, at which time the plaintiffs asked the court to declare the policy unconstitutional and issue an injunction, which Phillips did today.

The AP adds: "Government lawyers argued Phillips lacked the authority to issue a nationwide injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress…Six military officers who were discharged under the policy testified during the trial. A decorated Air Force officer testified that he was let go after his peers snooped through his personal e-mail in Iraq…Lawyers also submitted remarks by Obama stating 'don't ask, don't tell' weakens national security."

Alex-nicholson The case through which the law was struck down, Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A., was originally filed in 2004. Servicemembers United's Executive Director, J. Alexander Nicholson (pictured), is the sole named injured party in the lawsuit.

Said Nicholson, a former multi-lingual U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.': "This is an historic moment and an historic ruling for the gay military community and for the readiness and integrity of our Armed Forces. As the only named injured party in this case, I am exceedingly proud to have been able to represent all who have been impacted and had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy. We are finally on our way to vindication." 

HERE'S THE RULING:

DADT Unconstitutional


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Video: To Angle out Reid, FRC puts pride before military’s fall

We’ve yet to see the text from Harry Reid’s pending legislation, The Put A Big Ass Pride Flag Outside The Capitol Act of 2010. And we must have missed the part of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal that includes a pride parade. So we’ll just have to trust the Family Research Council that both are there, and that both are the work of our activist Majority Leader:

FRC says they’re airing this ad all over Nevada TV stations. Because why should David Copperfield have a monopoly on duping Nevadans with carefully manufactured illusions?




Good As You

—  John Wright