ask. and tell. (ctd.)

Reading Judge Phillips’ opinion in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, I found the section in which Phillips summarized the lay witness testimony to be the most upsetting. The plaintiffs presented six witnesses: four gay servicemen, one lesbian servicewoman, and a heterosexual serviceman whose experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” led to his becoming a vocal advocate for repeal after he left the service. Across the board, Judge Phillips’ summary of their testimony painted pictures of people who were extremely valuable and dedicated to their fellow servicemen and servicewomen. One thought kept running through my mind as I was reading this testimony: these people put their lives on the line for their country, and yet we are saying to them “Sorry, you’re attracted to members of the same sex? Get the hell out.”

I think that these stories are important to spread, but don’t expect that many people will take the time to wade through the decision to seek them out. So, I am posting them here, as summarized by Judge Phillips. I debated whether to try to summarize them, but I think that their stories are more powerful when presented in the impartial tone of the judge. I have removed the transcript citations from the summaries to improve readability, but they are available in the decision itself.

Michael Almy, United States Air Force 1993 – 2006

Joseph Rocha, United States Navy 2004 – 2007

Jenny Kopfstein, United States Navy 1995-2002

John Nicholson, United States Army 2001 – 2002(?)

Anthony Loverde, United States Air Force 2001 – 2008

Stephen Vossler, United States Army 2000 – 2009

(Click here to see the previous post in this series.)


Only marginally related, Ted Olsen and David Boies gave a talk at the Aspen Ideas Festival about their approach to litigating the case against Prop 8 in California that is worth a look. The Atlantic and the Huffington Post both have edited versions, which are unique enough make both worth watching. The full version is available at the Aspen Ideas Festival website.

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