This morning I received Log Cabin's latest Urgent "Action Alert," requesting money for Log Cabin's lawsuit to overturn the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy codifying (but modifying) the ban on gays in the military.
While I support Log Cabin's desire to overturn this unnecessary ban, I believe that we risk a backlash by turning to the courts to define military policy. Now, I agree that this is a bad law and quite possibly unconstitutional as the Constitution (Article II, Section 2) makes the President the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Before Clinton and the Democratic Congress of 1993 meddled in this, it was the executive branch which set policy on gays in the military. Without the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, the president, by the stroke of a pen, could have repealed the law.
Log Cabin's goal, however, is not to return military policy to where it belongs, the executive branch, but to deliver it to another branch of government, the judicial. And by doing this, they risk the same backlash that we saw in thirteen state referenda this past year (eleven in November, in Missouri and Louisiana earlier this year) when citizens responded to the Massachusetts judicial fiat changing the definition of marriage. Since states can't define federal military policy through referenda, should Log Cabin succeed at the judicial level to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," expect a move from proponents of the ban on gays in the military to seek a constitutional amendment excluding gays in the military.
Instead of raising $50,000 to provide "every resource" to its legal team, Log Cabin should be working to raise money to lobby Congress to overturn the ban.
But, unfortunately, like the gay rights' organizations of the left, Log Cabin seeks to bypass the people and their elected representatives and go to the courts. At a time when Log Cabin should be building bridges with the GOP, it is instead diverting its resources to a battle which will do little to help it gain favor in Republican circles. Indeed, by making this fight their primary post-election project, Log Cabin's leadership undermines Patrick Guerriero's November 8 letter where he wrote, "More important than winning in the courts of America is the harder work all of us must do to win over the hearts and minds of the American people."
Instead of devoting its limited resources to winning over the hearts and minds of the American people, Log Cabin is using them in an attempt to win the courts. In the unlikely case that they win this one in the courts, they risk a backlash from the people they claim they wish to influence.
It's not a strategy to win the hearts and minds of the American people. It's not a strategy to influence the political party they claim to support.
Few Republicans believe any more that Log Cabin is a Republican organization. It's been more than a month since the Republican president was reelected and Log Cabin has yet to issue a statement congratulating him on his victory. They haven't even praised him for welcoming the vice president's daughter and her lesbian partner on stage when he claimed victory. Nor have they issued any statement showing the common ground they share with this Republican president's second-term agenda.
In that November 8 letter, Patrick also wrote that Log Cabin "must find a way to work with [the president] and his administration over the next four years." With Log Cabin's e-mail today, it appears Log Cabin has found a most unusual way to work with that administration. He has yet to praise the president and yet his organization's first post-election fundraising appeal is for resources to take his administration to court.