In the first legal test of the Pentagon’s new policy on homosexuals, lawyers for six gay service members argued in Federal District Court Monday that the rules discriminate against gay men and lesbians to accommodate the fears and prejudices of heterosexual troops.
But government lawyers said the new regulations, often described as “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue,” were necessary to preserve order and discipline in the ranks. Moreover, the government argued that the courts should defer to the judgment of military commanders and Congress in establishing rules of conduct for the armed forces.
“It’s not the business of the courts to be micromanaging the military,” said John A. Rogovin, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil division.
The six active-duty and reserve service members are seeking to have the new regulations struck down.
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