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The nation’s leading gay Republican group went to federal court on Tuesday, seeking to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on the ground that it violates constitutional rights. “Public opinion, the experience of our allies and the national security interests of our nation all lead to the inescapable conclusion that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly and honestly in our military,” Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said in a prepared statement. Lawyers with the Los Angeles office of New York’s White & Case filed the suit, Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America, CV-048425, in the L.A.-based U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit, which asks that the government be permanently enjoined from enforcing the policy, contends that recent case law — including the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, which struck down anti-sodomy laws — requires the courts to reconsider the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Those rulings, the suit maintains, indicate that the policy violates gay service members’ rights of due process, freedom of speech and equal protection. “This case is fundamentally about correcting a misguided governmental policy based on prejudice towards gay and lesbian Americans,” White & Case associate C. Martin Meekins said. “A decade of experience with the policy demonstrates that it actually weakens our national defense.” Meekins and White & Case partner Daniel Woods are representing the Log Cabin Republicans on a pro bono basis. Previously, the firm drafted an amicus curiae brief for the group in Lawrence and represented former sailor Keith Meinhold, who was kicked out of the service for being gay in 1992, in a suit against the U.S. Department of Defense. Meinhold’s suit successfully challenged the military’s previous prohibition of gays and lesbians, but Congress enacted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” the following year. Meekins said four different federal circuit courts have since upheld the policy, but his firm is confident that won’t hold true in the post- Lawrence setting. He also points to Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, the high court’s 1996 ruling that said government-sponsored discrimination against gays and lesbians could not be justified solely by animus or morality, and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the court’s June decision that limited the Department of Defense’s discretion to infringe upon constitutional due process rights. Guerriero, of the Log Cabin Republicans, said a lawsuit shouldn’t be necessary. “However,” he said, “under these circumstances, where we are a nation at war fighting a global war against terrorism, we can no longer sit by and wait for our elected officials to find the political courage to do the right thing.”

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