Court Rejects DADT Challenge

Gays looking to get the Supreme Court’s help in being allowed to openly serve in the military have been rebuffed.

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting a request by the Obama administration.  The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

[…]

In court papers, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.”

During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.

@anamariecox is miffed but this is hardly surprising.  It has been settled law for generations that the military has a “good order and discipline” interest that allows it to do things that other government entities can’t.  The homosexual exclusion policy has been tested time and again and been deemed consistent with that goal.  There was no basis for taking this case and ruling differently.

Ultimately, this is a policy decision that Congress will make.  Given the trendlines on this, it’s only a matter of time.  For example, a Gallup poll released June 5th:

The movement in favor of gays serving has been positive among all demographics, with more than two-thirds overal and even a sizable majority of self-identified conservatives in favor.    No group gave less than 58 percent approval.

President Obama has clearly decided not to make Bill Clinton’s mistake of sparking a distrating controversy by tackling this early.  With an economic crisis and two wars to deal with, that’s wise if not particularly courageous.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    It’s interesting that poll above didn’t use Age as a demo grouping. It has been my anecdotal experience that the older generation (which makes up the large majority of Congress) is completely against any sort of gay rights, and will be until their dying day. Unfortunately, as crass as it sounds, I don’t think Congress will change anything until pretty much all of them currently older than 50 die off.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Sad and ironic that people who are prepared to fight and die to defend country and liberty are forced to live a lie to do so…

  3. @anamariecox is miffed but this is hardly surprising.

    Sorry, what was the topic again?

  4. just me says:

    I think Ben is correct that positions on this policy seem to be influenced as much by age as anything else.

    Personally, I think it is a policy that needs to go, but I think it is a policy that needs to go through the legislative process. But for the most part I think any concerns about gays serving in the military are concerns that can be addressed through the UCMJ and existing policy within the UCMJ.

  5. The Strategic MC says:

    It is also interesting that “military” was not a polled category. It is my experience that the responsible and accountable classes (SNCO and Mid/Senior Grade Officers) of military personnel are largely against revising DADT. It’s that hang-up that we have regarding Good Order And Discipline. It’s a military thang, you wouldn’t understand.

    If it wasn’t for the (extreme?) politicization of the gay rights issue, I would agree that “concerns about gays serving in the military are concerns that can be addressed through the UCMJ and existing policy within the UCMJ.”

    Rare is the Commanding Officer who will defy the prevailing political trend and do the right thing. Even today, we have a difficult time being strictly objective on issues that involve race and gender.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    It’s that hang-up that we have regarding Good Order And Discipline. It’s a military thang, you wouldn’t understand.

    I wonder if this same excuse or something similar was used as a reason to not integrate the military in the past…