Three veterans who were all discharged under the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy have filed a new lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claiming that the policy violated their rights under the constitution.
The parties in the suit are 31-year-old former Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Loverde, who's currently in Iraq working for a private military contractor, former Air Force Maj. Michael Almy, 40, and former Navy Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight, 28. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network director Aubrey Sarvis says, "this is the first shot over the bow" at the Senate, trying to force the issue to a vote before the Congressional session ends -- something which isn't likely. "If the Senate fails to act in the lame duck session, we are prepared to litigate this aggressively." The Senate again blocked a military spending bill last week that including the repeal of DADT, but some are still hoping for a standalone bill to be introduced.
A U.S. District judge in Riverside ruled in a different case in September that DADT violates the due process and free speech rights of gay Americans. Judge Virginia Phillips then issued a worldwide injunction to stop enforcement of the policy, but the 9th Circuit suspended Phillips' order. The Pentagon would prefer that Congress act on this before the courts do, so that they can set their own timetable for managing the repeal, so the more pressure from lawsuits like this, the more likely it is that a vote might occur.