Today, federal district court judge Virginia Phillips, followed her September decision striking down the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law as unconstitutional in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans by ordering the Department of Defense to immediately cease enforcement of the statute barring lesbians and gays from serving openly in the Armed Forces. However, because legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still pending in the Senate, and because litigation of this case may not have yet reached its end, we encourage service members to remain cautious about disclosing their sexual orientation.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement upon hearing of Judge Phillips’s decision:
“The administration should comply with her order and stop enforcing this unconstitutional, unconscionable law that forces brave lesbian and gay Americans to serve in silence. The President has said this law harms our national security and we believe it would be a mistake to appeal the decision. Each additional day that this unjust law remains in force is one more day the federal government is complicit in discrimination.”
The Justice Department could still seek an emergency stay with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as early as tonight, that would block Judge Phillips’s injunction until that court could hold a formal hearing on the merits of Judge Phillips’s decision to halt all discharges. In addition, as of today, the Department has 60 days to file an appeal of her September decision striking down the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law as unconstitutional.
It is time for the Administration to recognize that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is unconstitutional, and we urge the Justice Department to accept Judge Phillips’s decision to cease all discharges. Regardless, the Administration must do everything in its power to work with the Senate and Department of Defense to ensure that legislative repeal is completed when the Senate returns in November.
Sometimes it’s hard not to recognize that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, as well as our friends, family, and allies, don’t seem as good at organizing as those on the religious right — as least with regards to phone and letter campaigns.
California’s Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) sent out an email blast yesterday, entitled “Defend Prop. 8!” It’s a call to their conservative, religious base to call the Gov. Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to get on their phones and start calling. How CRI framed the issue in their e-blast:
Jerry Brown is not appealing. Put another way, Jerry Brown has refused to file the appeal of the recent federal trial court decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Yes, it is his responsibility as the Attorney General (AG) to defend voter-approved measures, but he does not agree with Proposition 8.
And his failure to do his duty may end this battle right here.
As John Eastman points out in the Flashreport, unless the official government defendants file a notice of appeal the issue may end with the decision of one judge in San Francisco. The proponents of the measure may not have standing to file the appeal.
But, as Eastman also points out, the Governor can file this appeal. While the Governor also opposes Proposition 8, we hope that he is fair minded enough to realize that the people of California deserve a full hearing in the courts on this important measure.
Governor Schwarzenegger, under Government Code (GC) Section 12013 has the authority to direct AG Jerry Brown to appear on behalf of the State. If the Attorney General refuses, then the Governor has the right to and should file the notice of appeal. He may also employ additional counsel, as he deems expedient. The lawsuit against Proposition 8, Perry v Schwarzenegger, even includes the Governor’s name because the lawsuit is against the State. GC Section 12013 further reads that the Governor has the right to demand the AG’s appearance and supply additional counsel when suit or legal proceeding is pending against the State.
We join John Eastman and the 7 million Californians who voted in favor of marriage in 2008 in strongly urging the Governor to file the notice of appeal and allow committed counsel to continue to defend Proposition 8.
Their call to action:
we need your help to pressure Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown to do their jobs; We have created a website asking them to defend Prop. 8.
Please sign our online petition, call and fax the Governor and Attorney General, and join our Facebook page. And forward this e-mail alert to family and friends and ask them to do the same.
We need to flood the phones/faxes all day long.
It is time we stand up and tell those who represent us to do their job and defend Prop 8
Call the Governor!
Talking Points When You Call the Governor:
You were elected by the same people who amended our State Constitution to define and recognize marriage between one man and one woman. Please represent us by defending Proposition 8.
If you are not going to enthusiastically defend Proposition 8 in the courtroom then file the appeal so the supporters of Proposition 8 can do so.
Even though you don’t agree with Proposition 8, it is only fair that you give the 7 million Californians who voted for this measure an opportunity to defend marriage in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Call the Attorney General
Talking Points When You Call the Attorney General:
It is your Constitutional duty to defend Proposition 8. Please do you job as California’s top law enforcer.
If you choose not defend the Constitutionality of Proposition 8, then at least file an appeal and move out of the way.
You are running for governor. How can voters expect you to do your job as governor if you do not even do your job as attorney general?
In all the calls and faxes that went to California’s Governor and Attorney General’s offices yesterday, I know I asked myself “How many calls went to these offices in support of California’s stand not to appeal Prop 8?”
Well, I was in communication with a staffer from Equality California yesterday. That staffer informed me that when someone from their organization asked the Governor’s office that question regarding calls there, the answer to how many who called the Governor’s office California’s Governor and Attorney General’s position on not challenging the Prop 8 ruling made by Judge Walker, the answer was one…one phone call.