There is growing possibility the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy pertaining to the rights of gays to remain in the service may be headed to the Supreme Court. During the past few months courts have, essentially, ruled both ways on the issue. On June 10th, the 1st Circuit Court in Boston basically ruled the current policy was legal. Judge Jeffrey Howard speaking for the majority said: “Although the wisdom behind the statute at issue here may be questioned by some, in light of the special deference we grant congressional decision-=making in this area, we conclude that the challenges must be dismissed.” However, in late may, teh 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, reinstated a lawsuit filed by a former Air Force m ajor after she was told she would be discharged for homosexual activity. This decision essentially denied the military power to discharge people based on their sexual orientation.
Although the 1st Circuit Court sided with the military, it urged the policy should receive “tougher judicial scrutiny” because the policy discriminates against a particular group. Given the conflicting decisions, either gays can take their desire for equity to the Supreme Court or the military can ask the court to support its right to decide military policy.
Ironically, there is growing concern within the military concerning the wisdom of the policy including a recent report by retired officers who said changes were needed to allow gays to serve. Retired General John Shalikashvili, former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out for repeal of the gay policy. It is time to either abandon the policy or get the Supreme Court to render its verdict on it.