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This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's Application for Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiff, Justin Elzie, a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps ("Marine Corps"), brings this action against defendants Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, John Dalton, Secretary of the Navy, and Carl Mundy, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief charging that the Marine Corps improperly and unlawfully recommended him for discharge from active duty and barred him from a retirement benefits program. Plaintiff alleges that the Marine Corps took such action against him based solely on his public announcement that he is a homosexual. Defendants do not dispute that their action was based solely on plaintiff's public declaration of his sexual orientation. They assert, however, that the Marine Corps was authorized to take such action by long-standing military policy that permits service members to be *440 separated from the armed forces on the sole ground of "homosexual admissions."
On the evening of January 29, 1993, the ABC television program World News Tonight aired an interview in which plaintiff declared that he is a homosexual. Plaintiff asserts he publicly revealed his sexual orientation in reliance on the President's announcement and the Meinhold decision. He subsequently made several public statements affirming his sexual orientation.
On March 31, 1993, an Administrative Discharge Board recommended that plaintiff be discharged pursuant to MarCorSepMan 6207.3b(2) which provides for discharge when a Marine "admits to being a homosexual or bisexual, unless there is a further finding that the member is not homosexual or bisexual." The discharge proceeding was based solely on plaintiff's statements regarding his sexual orientation. The Marine Corps argued that the exclusionary regulations were not limited to conduct, thus admissions of homosexual status would be sufficient grounds for discharge. Plaintiff's assertion that the regulations required a finding that he had a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct was rejected. The Administrative Discharge Board recommended discharge on the sole basis of plaintiff's "public admissions and numerous media statements."
A party moving for a preliminary injunction must demonstrate: 1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, 2) irreparable injury absent an injunction, 3) relatively less injury to the non-moving party, and 4) that the injunction will promote the public interest. See Washington Metro. Area Transit Auth. v. Holiday Tours, Inc., 559 F.2d 841, 844 (D.C.Cir.1977). For the reasons set forth below, this Court finds that plaintiff is entitled to the preliminary injunction he seeks.
The cornerstone of the armed forces' homosexual ban is that homosexual's serving in the armed forces impair the ability of the military to perform its mission. According to the Marine Corps policy statement, homosexual Marines adversely affect the service's ability to "maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among Marines; to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy; to recruit and retain members of the Marine Corps; to maintain public acceptance of military service; and to prevent breaches of security." MarCorSepMan 6207.1
The public's interest in the efficient operation of the armed forces is clear. The Court does not believe that banning homosexuals from the armed forces on the basis of status alone will adversely affect the military's mission. The issue in this case is status alone. Conduct is not involved and there is nothing in this Court's decision which would prevent the armed forces from enforcing conduct codes.
Indeed, in considering the public interest, it might well be argued that to deprive our armed forces of the intellectual and physical prowess of some extraordinarily talented individuals *444 strictly because of their sexual orientation would be doing a great disservice to this nation. If the Court accepts defendants' position, it would create an incongruity in that the policy would preclude homosexuals from serving in the armed forces but would not extend to the Commander-in-Chief.
ORDERED: that for the duration of this litigation defendants, Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, John Dalton, Secretary of the Navy, and General Carl Mundy, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys and those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of the order by personal service or otherwise, are enjoined from taking any adverse action against plaintiff, separating plaintiff from active duty, placing him on standby reserve, discharging him from the Marine Corps or denying him participation in the VSI/SSB program on the sole basis of his sexual orientation.
In agreeing to enter an order restricting what lawyers in the case can say in public, Chutkan pointed out that Washington, DC, has a relatively small pool of potential jurors, making it more likely that inappropriate comments about the case could make it harder to seat a jury and have a fair trial.
History: Add. 2000, Act 452, Eff. Mar. 28, 2001 Compiler's Notes: Former MCL 750.122, which pertained to conflict of interest and officers of public institutions, was repealed by Act 317 of 1968, Eff. Sept. 1, 1968. 153554b96e