• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

'Don't ask, don't tell' challenged in court

July 13, 2010 12:40:39 AM PDT
A trial in Riverside could force a change in the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay service members. A Republican gay-rights group has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the rule.The group Log Cabin Republicans says the policy has resulted in the discharge of 13,000 service members, and it claims "don't ask, don't tell" is a violation of the constitutional rights of homosexuals.

The Log Cabin Republicans has about 19,000 members who support gay rights. In court, the group will argue that people have a constitutional right to live a homosexual lifestyle, and "don't ask, don't tell" violates that right.

The law prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members, and it requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or are discovered engaging in homosexual activity.

President Barack Obama has criticized the policy and is working with Congress to repeal it through federal legislation, but critics say the president hasn't acted fast enough since taking office.

The U.S. House has voted to repeal the policy, and the Senate is expected to take up the issue this summer.

If the Log Cabin Republicans win their case, they'll ask U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to halt "don't ask, don't tell" immediately.

The trial begins Tuesday and is expected to last about two weeks.