BOSTON (CN) – The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy survived a challenge in the 1st Circuit from 12 people who were discharged for revealing their homosexuality.
The plaintiffs claimed the policy deprived them of due process and equal protection. But Judge Howard ruled that the court must defer to Congress’ authority to make rules to govern the military.
Howard found that the policy does not violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights because it focuses on conduct, not words. Therefore, a soldier’s words can be used to identify him or her as someone who may engage in homosexual conduct.
The policy “is aimed at eliminating certain conduct from occurring in the military environment, not at restricting free speech,” Howard ruled.