Supreme Court Denies Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Appeal, Advocates Press Congress To Act Before The Courts

Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied a request to vacate the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals’ stay of an earlier district court injunction that prevented the Pentagon from enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The decision comes just days after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Congress that if it doesn’t act to repeal the ban during the lame duck session, the issue could be decided by the courts. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen echoed Gates’ comments over the weekend.

In a statement issued from Afghanistan, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — a strong advocate of repeal — reiterated what is quickly become a dominant talking point in the debate. “While this is a disappointing decision, it demonstrates the need for Congress to take action now,” she said. “We must put our national security first and repeal this corrosive policy now.” Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) agreed, noting, “While I’m disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today, the silver lining is that it gives Congress another chance to change the policy in an orderly way that incorporates the concerns of the military.” Repeal advocates hope to persuade Congress that by taking control of repeal, it can accommodate the needs of the military and ensure an orderly transition.

And while gay rights groups have seized on this Washington Post story which reported that the Pentagon’s study of the policy had concluded that servicemembers wouldn’t mind serving alongside gay troops, the Log Cabin Republicans — the plaintiffs to the DADT lawsuit — are suggesting that the White House is less than engaged in the process. R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, told The Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel that he has had four separate meetings with persuadable Senate offices and “all of them mentioned that they had not yet heard from the White House about supporting a DADT repeal.”

“[T]hese are all senators who would be willing to have a dialogue, and they have not heard from the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, which is an arm of the Executive Office of the President,” relayed Cooper. “So again, if President Obama is serious about this as a legislative priority, there are Republican offices that need a phone call.”