Monday, February 11, 2008

GLIL Submits Brief in Second Amendment Case

Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL), an organization with which I have been affiliated since its founding on February 12, 1991 -- yes, GLIL's anniversary is just one day away -- has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. This is the most important Second Amendment case to reach the nation's highest court in almost 70 years.

The following news release is being distributed today by GLIL:

News Release from
Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty

Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty Submit Brief in Second Amendment Case

(WASHINGTON, February 11, 2008) – Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL) has joined with Pink Pistols in support of the Second Amendment rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans by filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Supreme Court.

GLIL chairman Richard Sincere explained: “The brief was filed in support of Dick Anthony Heller, who sued the District of Columbia to have its draconian prohibition on private gun ownership overturned. Heller’s rights to own a gun for self-protection were upheld by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty appealed the case to the Supreme Court.”

The brief states that "Laws that prevent the use of firearms for self-defense in one's own home disproportionately impact those individuals who are targets of hate violence due to their minority status, whether defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic.… [Not] only do members of the LGBT community have a heightened need to possess firearms for self-protection in their homes, the Second Amendment clearly guarantees this most basic right. This Court should not permit the democratic majority to deprive LGBT individuals of their essential and constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in their own homes"

The brief also makes a unique argument, tying the denial of rights of gay men and lesbians to possess firearms to the statutory mandate to exclude those same citizens from military service through the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rules:

"… Interpreting the Second Amendment as recognizing a right conditioned upon military service, where eligibility for military service is defined by the Government, prevents the Amendment from acting as any constraint on Government action at all. Such a result is contrary not only to the literal text of the Amendment, but to the intentions of the Framers. Further, in light of the current 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, such an interpretation would completely eradicate any Second Amendment right for members of the LGBT community."

A number of other organizations have also submitted amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court in this case, arguing in favor of an individual right to possess firearms, including the Cato Institute, Disabled Veterans for Self Defense, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, the Rutherford Institute, and a group of women legislators and academics.

The case is District of Columbia v. Heller, Docket No. 07-290. A copy of the Pink Pistols/GLIL brief can be accessed at

Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty was founded in February 1991 to advance the ideas of economic and personal freedom and individual responsibility. It has members across the United States and in several foreign countries. GLIL previously filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. For more information, visit or telephone [redacted].

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in D.C. v. Heller on March 18, 2008. A decision will be released later in the year, probably at the end of the Court's term in late June.

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