The Log Cabin Republicans are in the middle of fighting with the Justice Department over the legality of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. So how come nobody’s interested?
GetEQUAL isn’t in Riverside rallying. Equality California hasn’t set up a podium anywhere. And barely any media are covering the trial. What gives?
Servicemembers United creator Alexander Nicholson, a gay discharged vet, takes the stand today to a tiny audience — a stark contrast to what we saw in San Francisco at the Prop 8 trial.
“I drove up from West Hollywood for Tuesday’s opening arguments and was startled at how few non-attorneys showed up,” writes Karen Ocamb of Frontiers. “After all, this is essentially the military equivalent of the federal Prop 8 trial – evidence in a court of law about how gays are officially treated as second class citizens by the federal government. But for all the high decibel attention over repealing DADT and the Pentagon’s homophobic survey – no one showed up with picket signs to demonstrate outside or packed the courtroom to support the plaintiffs in this serious David versus Goliath legal battle. What does this thundering absence tell the government about how much LGBTs really care about this horrendous law?”
Perhaps it’s because, like the Prop 8 trial, Gay Inc. refused to support the lawsuit — and tried sabotaging it in the press — before eventually getting on board and cheerleading? Or because LCR hasn’t done the media outreach and publicity campaign rolled out by American Foundation for Equal Rights, which bankrolled the Olson-Boies plaintiff team. But even LCR doesn’t have any men on the street. For an organization claiming to represent America’s queer conservatives, LCR hasn’t showed any evidence of grassroots support in the form of actual people at the court house. The most access you’ll get, then, is the transcripts from the trial.
Instead, it’s a ghost town. Continues Ocamb: “The U.S. District Court in San Francisco made special arrangements for the expected over-flow crowd during the federal challenge to Prop 8 earlier this year. So the U.S. District Court in Riverside, expecting similar huge crowds, made similar arrangements. But the overflow room sat air conditioned-cold and empty, save for Log Cabin Republicans communications manager Charles Moran [pictured], who was fielding media calls and emails. Yes, the American Foundation for Equal Rights had a built-in media generator with attorney Ted Olson. But LCR’s lead attorney Dan White of White & Case is also a straight Republican who has taken the case pro bono because – like Olson – he considers LGBT equality to be one of the most profound civil rights issues of our time.”
Indeed, Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo’s five-second court appearance for their White House stunt has received more ink, even among gay media, than LCR’s lawsuit. Rather, more attention is being paid, by blogs like this one and mainstream reporters, to the DADT survey that’s gone out to soldiers than to the lawsuit that could declare DADT unconstitutional. Which is exactly what the federal government wants: After repeated efforts to keep the lawsuit from even happening, DoJ’s opening statement lasted five minutes, and they plan to submit zero evidence.