Update: Monday, Aug. 16, 1:40 p.m.:
SLDN has reached an agreement with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Air Force, on the request for a temporary restraining order. The agreement prevents the Air Force from discharging Lt. Col. Fehrenbach under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" until the Court can schedule a hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction.
“The agreement recognizes the immediate harm to Lt. Col. Fehrenbach and insures that he will eventually get to make his case at a full blown hearing without losing his job," SLDN's Aubrey Sarvis said. "This agreement is a victory for Lt. Col. Fehrenbach and our nation. The Air Force can still do the right thing and retain Lt. Col. Fehrenbach under the Pentagon’s own revised regulations on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The Senate needs to act next month to get rid of this antiquated law that dishonors some of our finest and most talented service members.”
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has just filed a request for a restraining order to prevent the Air Force from discharging Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
As he discussed with Instinct last November, Victor is a nearly 20-year vet who was outed two years ago and has since then been placed on a desk job. Today's filing seeks a court order preventing the Air Force from discharging him, arguing that the government cannot establish that his continued service on active duty hinders “morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.”
“I have been waiting more than two years for the Air Force to do the right thing by letting me continue to proudly serve my country," Victor said in a SLDN statement. "To say that I’m disappointed with where things stand would be a monumental understatement. I have given my entire adult life to the Air Force that I love. I have deployed six times and risked my life for my country. In the two years that I’ve been sitting at my desk rather than inside my jet, I’ve offered to deploy numerous times. I’m ready, willing, and able to deploy tomorrow, but I’m barred from deployment, because of this unjust, discriminatory law. Meanwhile, moms and dads, sons and daughters, and my friends go back for the third, fourth, fifth deployments. While our country is engaged in two wars, my service is needed now more than ever.”
According to Victor's lawyers, the Air Force Secretary can do the right thing and retain Fehrenbach under the Pentagon’s own recently revised regulations on DADT. A request for a temporary restraining order asks the court to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff and preserve the status quo until a more complete hearing can be held on the merits of the case. If the court grants the request, the Air Force will be prevented from discharging Victor until a full hearing can be scheduled.
And timing is of the essence. Should Victor be discharged under DADT, he is at risk of losing all the protections and incentives earned with a 20-year retirement with the military. He is 13 months away from meeting his required time of service.
Victor will appear on Rachel Maddow tonight to discuss the new filing.