The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has granted the US government’s motion to dismiss in Cook v. Rumsfeld, a constitutional challenge to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.
The decision, from Judge George A. O’Toole Jr., was released on April 24.
“We are disappointed in the court’s decision, and are reviewing all possible responses,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the organisation representing the plaintiffs in the case.
“We continue to believe the military’s ban is un-American and unconstitutional. There is no reason lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans should be prohibited from serving our country. The men and women in this lawsuit represent the best of our armed forces. They are patriotic, dedicated veterans. America should welcome their contributions and honor their commitment to our country.”
The SLDN lawsuit asserts that “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ punishes gay, lesbian and bisexual service members… for their sexual orientation and for their private, constitutionally protected conduct. As a result, it has denied and continues to deny them several Constitutional rights, including the right of privacy, equal protection of the law, and freedom of speech.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit all served honourably in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Together, they have served more than sixty-five years in the armed forces. Three have served in direct support of operations in the Middle East. Among them, they have earned more than five dozen awards, medals and commendations.