Supreme Court Refuses to Challenge Military ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Tue Jun 9, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

LYNCHBURG, Virginia, June 9, 2009 ( - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld yesterday the prohibition against open homosexuals serving in the military after it refused to hear a constitutional challenge from a former Army captain discharged due to his self-identification as a homosexual.  

Former Army Captain James Pietrangelo II was originally one of 12 plaintiffs who filed suit after being dismissed for open homosexuality. Most of the other plaintiffs dropped the case after the Court of Appeals in Boston rejected the suit last year.

Under the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, homosexuals are dismissed from the military if their superiors are made aware of their sexual orientation. 

President Obama has repeatedly made clear his intent to repeal the restriction and allow open homosexuality in the military. However, in a brief concerning Pietrangelo's case, the Obama administration argued that the lower court was right to uphold the ban, according to the Associated Press. 

"Applying the strong deference traditionally afforded to the Legislative and Executive Branches in the area of military affairs, the court of appeals properly upheld the statute," U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote. Kagan also wrote that the ban is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion."

“In an age of rampant judicial activism it’s refreshing to witness some commonsense judicial restraint," commented Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action. 

“This decision by the Supreme Court should once again remind everyone that, contrary to the propaganda fomented by the organized homosexual lobby, homosexual temptation and the destructive but changeable homosexual lifestyle must not be confused with neutral and immutable characteristics such as race or gender for purposes of assigning special government minority status or protections," he added.

Barber pointed out that the "vast majority" of military leaders and personnel favor keeping in place the long-standing ban against homosexuals.  

"It has long been established that to enlist those who define themselves as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ would both disrupt unit cohesion and harm troop morale," he said. 

“I’m speaking from personal experience,” continued Barber. “I served twelve years in the Army National Guard. During basic training a young man who later turned out to be homosexual was discharged after making unwanted advances toward other soldiers and for inappropriately touching several while they slept in the barracks. 

“A lengthy investigation ensued. Troops were pulled away from their regular training to answer questions. It was a tremendous distraction for our entire platoon. This incident most definitely disrupted unit cohesion and harmed troop morale."

Barber urged President Obama to uphold the ban on open homosexuals in the military. 

"For the good of the country and in the interest of national security, President Obama should heed the wisdom of the high court and our military leadership," Barber said. "He should cease his ill-advised efforts to force the military to implicitly sanction sexual deviancy by allowing it to occur."  

See related coverage:

President Obama Declares June 2009 ‘LGBT Pride Month’

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