Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America

Status: Closed
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Amicus brief filed in support of challenge to U.S. military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy

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Lambda Legal filed friend-of-the-court briefs in a case brought by Log Cabin Republicans challenging the constitutionality of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law, which bans lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Lambda Legal's brief explains that, despite passage of the DADT Repeal Act of 2010, the government has not yet shown that it has taken sufficient steps to address the widespread and lasting harm that DADT continues to inflict upon previously discharged service members. The brief also urges the Ninth Circuit to uphold the district court's ruling that laws burdening the rights of adults to form intimate family relationships should be presumed unconstitutional, and to reverse the district court's ruling that DADT does not violate the federal Constitution's promise of equal protection.


  • 1993 Congress passes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law
  • 2004 Log Cabin Republicans files challenge to DADT.
  • September 9, 2010 U.S. District Court rules that DADT is unconstitutional.
  • October 12, 2010 U.S. District Court orders injunction barring enforcement of DADT.
  • October 20, 2010 Federal government requests a stay of the injunction pending appeal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • October 25, 2010 Lambda Legal files a friend-of-the-court brief urging that the injunction against DADT remain in place during an appeal.
  • November 1, 2010 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants the federal government's request of a stay of the injunction pending the appeal.
  • December 22, 2010 President Obama signs the "Don't, Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Act, which will repeal DADT 60 days after he and others certify repeal can be implemented.
  • April 4, 2011 Lambda Legal files a friend-of-the-court brief urging that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirm that DADT is unconstitutional.
  • July 6, 2011 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay on the injunction issued by the district court. The government is prevented once again from enforcing DADT.
  • July 15, 2011 Ninth Circuit temporarily and partially grants the Obama administration's request to restart enforcement of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." The court's administrative stay allows the military to refuse to accept new openly lesbian, gay and bisexual recruits. However, the injunction continues to prevent discharges, processing of discharge proceedings or investigations under the policy.
  • July 22, 2011 President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, certify the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Ban on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals serving openly in the armed forces ends September 20. On the same day, the Ninth Circuit orders that its July 15 order remain in effect until resolution of the case.
  • September 29, 2011 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates earlier District Court ruling declaring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional.