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DADT: Obama, Defense Secretary, Joint Chiefs All Certify Gay Ban Repeal

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President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen this afternoon all certified that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the ban on gays serving openly in the military can now be repealed without impacting military readiness or so-called unit cohesion. According to the Byrd Amendment, lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the military can begin serving openly in 60 days, September 20. Until that date, however, DADT technically is still in effect. Today, coincidentally, marks seven months to the day President Obama signed into law the path to repeal, culminating in today’s repeal certification.

“Log Cabin Republicans are proud to have helped put an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans, said. “It is our hope that the clear precedent established in federal court that will ensure an absolute end to this unconstitutional law.”

“The days of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are quite literally numbered. Very soon, gay and lesbian service members will be able to serve their country openly, honestly and with the dignity they deserve and for far too long were denied,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office. “While this policy’s repeal is a huge step forward, statutes that discriminate against LGBT Americans and their families remain intact. The demise of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ demonstrates that we should not write discrimination into our laws. Now is the time for Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

“Service members celebrate this historic announcement, and they are ready for this change,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said today. “Our nation’s top military leaders have testified that commanders see no significant challenges ahead, and now the president, Secretary Panetta, and Chairman Mullen have certified to Congress that the armed forces are prepared for the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

“For far too long, lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemembers have had to hide their families in the shadows for fear of losing their careers and their ability to provide for their children,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “With certification comes a new day for those 65,000 men and women who selflessly serve our country and for their families who make tremendous sacrifices everyday.”

“While we still must wait 60 days for this change to formally take effect and for the law to officially be off the books, this step is nothing short of historic,” Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said. ”This is the final nail in the coffin for the discriminatory, outdated, and harmful ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law.”

“This is a welcome step, and reflects what our members are saying, that the military is ready to move beyond ‘DADT’,” said “JD Smith,” active-duty co-director of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, who is identified by a pseudonym while “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still in effect. “In 60 days, my life and the lives of thousands of other gay and lesbian troops changes. I cannot be more proud to be able to serve during this time.”

“This day has been a long time in coming. Soon, we will see that gay and lesbian troops demonstrate the same professionalism that is the hallmark of our armed forces, and that all military personnel will prove more professional than some have given them credit for,” added OutServe spokesperson and combat vet Jonathan Hopkins.  “Through our work with the Pentagon, we are confident they have worked hard to devise smart policies as we move forward.  As we move forward, what matters most is leadership.”

“For far too long, the ban on openly gay service members has harmed our security and tarnished our values,” stated HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The President’s certification of repeal is a monumental step, not just for those forced to lie in order to serve, but for all Americans who believe in fairness and equality.

“There are many people who brought this historic day to fruition starting with the President’s tremendous leadership and the steadfast allies in Congress who refused to give in to the lies and fear mongering. Additionally we thank all of the brave men and women who have continued to wear the uniform under a policy that forced them to hide who they are.  The end of that shameful time is thankfully near.”

 

“Most people take it for granted that you are straight and talking about your loved ones in the workplace is a common and everyday occurrence,” said National Stonewall Democrats PAC board member Terry Fleming, who served for 10 years in the US Navy. “For gay and lesbian service members, avoiding those discussions, or worse, changing genders when talking about one’s spouse is difficult to say the least. I always felt like I was denying who I am and denying my partner’s importance in my life. This denial corrosively harms relationships and destroys families.”

 

 

For responses from service members and veterans, see Chris Johnson’s Washington Blade article.

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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion

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It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.

“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas,  who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.

READ MORE: Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”

“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”

Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”

“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”

University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

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Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.

The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”

The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.

“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims

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President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.

Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”

“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.

DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.

President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.

READ MORE: Watch: 2024 Presidential Hopeful Ron DeSantis Says ‘Cause for Concern Cause’ With Democrats Moving to Florida

But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”

Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.

 

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