BREAKING: Judge orders military to halt enforcement of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

A federal judge in California has issued an injunction halting enforcement of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Judge Virginia Phillips on Tuesday ordered the U.S. military “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced” under DADT.

Phillips previously ruled that DADT violates servicemembers’ rights to due process and free speech. However, she delayed issuing an injunction in the lawsuit brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.

The Department of Justice now has 60 days to appeal the decision but has not said whether it will do so. In the meantime, the DOJ could also seek a stay of the decision from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. DOJ has no obligation to appeal the ruling and could simply allow it to stand.

“This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United and the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans. “While this is certainly news to be celebrated, we would also advise caution in advance of a potential stay from the Ninth Circuit. If the appellate court wishes to put itself on the right side of history, however, it will allow this sound and long-over due decision to remain in effect.”

Christian Berle, acting executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said in the wake of Phillips’ initial ruling, the injunction was the “only reasonable solution.”

“These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines sacrifice so much in defense of our nation and our Constitution,” Berle said. “It is imperative that their constitutional freedoms be protected as well. This decision is also a victory for all who support a strong national defense. No longer will our military be compelled to discharge servicemembers with valuable skills and experience because of an archaic policy mandating irrational discrimination. The United States is stronger because of this injunction, and Log Cabin Republicans is proud to have brought the case that made it possible.”

Dan Woods, one of the attorneys representing Log Cabin, said he was “extremely pleased” with the injunction.

“The order represents a complete and total victory for Log Cabin Republicans and reaffirms the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians in the military who are fighting and dying for our country,” Woods said.

Other statements on Tuesday’s order:

Aaron Tax, legal director, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

“We applaud Judge Phillips for putting an immediate stop to all investigations and discharges under this unconstitutional law. As explained by the judge, this order applies across the military. This order bars the Department of Defense from enforcing or applying the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law against any person under its command. We have clients under investigation and facing discharge right now. We’ll be monitoring each case over the coming days. This order will likely be appealed by the Justice Department and brought to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit where her decision may well be reversed. The law still has a chance of being repealed in the lame duck session of Congress. Service members must proceed safely and should not come out at this time. Anyone in the armed forces with questions or concerns should call our hotline.”

—  John Wright

Broden’s campaign literature includes anti-gay buzz words but not his party affiliation

Pastor Stephen Broden with Karl Rove

This morning I had campaign literature for Pastor Stephen Broden hanging on my front door when I left the house. He’s running for Congress against incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson. (I include the title “Pastor” in his name because he does so in the literature.)

I assume Broden is running on the Republican ticket, because his yard signs are red and Johnson is a Democrat. But in his campaign literature he never mentions the R word. Understandable in the heavily Democratic Oak Cliff and Oak Lawn district. But on his website he does mention Tea Party.

On his website, among his list of supporters are a number of people marked “precinct chair.” None of them are listed as “Republican precinct chair,” however.

Broden uses anti-gay buzz phrases to boost his conservative cred. He’s “pro-family” as if he’s campaigning against someone who hates her family.

He’s for a “strong national defense.” Is he talking about keeping a gay translator like Lt. Dan Choi in the military or would that weaken defense? He can’t be talking about Johnson’s House vote for the huge defense appropriations bill that failed to make it through the Senate yesterday because of a Republican filibuster. Note to Broden: Waterboarding might make prisoners talk, but it doesn’t make them talk in English.

He’s for vouchers, so he can send his children to schools that won’t allow gays and lesbians to send their children to those schools. Funny, a few years ago, most Texas schools would have kept his kids out.

His No. 1 reason under “Why I’m running” is “Concern over the turn from founding principles & Judeo-Christian values to socialism.” But he never says which “Judeo-Christian” principles those would be. Probably not the Judeo ones that are quite Socialist. Like commandments about caring for the poor, the sick and treating others as you would be treated — you know, equality.

On issues, he’s pro-10th amendment. That’s the states’ rights amendment. The one that was used to justify slavery is some states since the federal government didn’t prohibit it. The one used to deny blacks the right to vote, since how to register voters was not enumerated in the Constitution and so it was left to the states. Interesting position for an African-American candidate to take.

But I found his omission of affiliation with his party the most interesting part of his door hanger and website. An Independent would actually have a better chance to win that district, but he is the Republican candidate in House District 30.

I’m glad Johnson has an opponent. I’ve lived in her district since she was my Oak Cliff state representative. But no one should be running unopposed. They should have to stand up and defend their record. But candidates should be honest and list their party. Using red ink on printed materials is a wink, wink.

More information you won’t find on his website. Yesterday, Sarah Palin endorsed Broden. On her Facebook page, Palin wrote:

It’s an honor to support Stephen Broden to represent Texas’ 30th Congressional District. As a teacher and pastor he has made it his life’s work to support the good people of the Fair Park and South Dallas areas in the beautiful Lone Star State.

I’m not sure what good a Palin endorsement will do someone in a district that was packed more than 80 percent Democratic in the last redistricting. A better question might be: Why was I reading Sarah Palin’s Facebook page?

—  David Taffet

Sen. Cornyn admits to using gay GOP group for votes, in letter to Family Research Council

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, sent Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a letter earlier this week requesting that Cornyn skip an upcoming fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans he’s scheduled to attend, according to CNN.

“Your work in the U.S. Senate on issues important to the family is well known, as is your close association with Family Research Council and the work we do, which makes the association [with Log Cabin] all the more distressing,” Perkins wrote to Cornyn on Monday. “In deference to the work you have done against the debasement of our culture, I would ask respectfully that you withdraw from attending the event.”

Cornyn responded to Perkins on Wednesday by touting his anti-gay credentials. Cornyn tells Perkins he supports the Defense of Marriage Act and favors a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Cornyn says he supports a referendum that would allow Washington, D.C., residents to vote to overturn the City Council’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage. And he says he opposes the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

“All these positions were well known to the Log Cabin Republicans when they invited me, in my capacity as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to attend their event later this month, and I accepted for two reasons. First, part of my job is to reach out to those committed to defeat Senate Democrats this November. The Log Cabin Republicans are doing just that, as they stand for fiscal discipline, limited government, and a strong national defense. We may not agree on several key issues, but we do agree that every committee in the United State Senate should be chaired by a Republican.  …”

Instant Tea has been harping on this issue for weeks, saying Cornyn is blatantly pandering by attending the Log Cabin dinner. His letter to Perkins confirms that Cornyn has no intentions of supporting gay rights anytime soon, and that he’s only attending the dinner to try to drum up votes in November so that Republicans can take over Congress, which would allow them to further FRC’s cause by preserving discriminatory laws while passing additional anti-gay federal legislation.

Here’s an idea: Maybe Log Cabin should take some of the money Cornyn helps the group raise and donate it to the Trevor Project to help prevent LGBT youth from committing suicide because they’re taught to hate themselves for being gay in a society controlled by people like Cornyn.

READ PERKINS’ LETTER TO CORNYN

READ CORNYN’S RESPONSE TO PERKINS

—  John Wright