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Supreme Court rejects challenge to military gay ban

Jessica Geen June 8, 2009
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The Supreme Court has today rejected a challenge to the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rule, which bans openly gay men and women from serving in the US military.

PA reports that former army captain James Pietrangelo II is appealing his dismissal under the policy but his case will not be heard by the Supreme Court. A earlier lawsuit he filed at the Boston federal appeals court was thrown out.

Pietrangelo had asked the Supreme Court to rule that the gay ban is unconstitutional but the Obama administration had requested the court to reject his challenge.

Court papers showed that the administration had said the court was correct in its decision as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion”.

In May, the Pentagon said there were no plans to remove the policy.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed that the military’s top leaders have had initial discussions with the White House about the gay ban but said there were no plans to repeal it.

Speaking to reporters, he said: “I do not believe there are any plans under way in this building for some expected, but not articulated, anticipation that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be repealed.”

President Barack Obama had promised to repeal the ban in his election campaign. It has been claimed that he can do so without Congressional approval. A study from the Palm Center at the University of California said earlier this month that lifting the ban is well within Obama’s capabilities.

Support for repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has risen in the last four years, a study released on Friday has shown.

The Gallup poll showed that Americans are six percentage points more likely to favour the lifting of the ban than they were in 2004.

It also found the biggest increases in support among conservatives and weekly churchgoers – up 12 and 11 percentage points respectively.

Related topics: Americas

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