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Lawsuit Asserts Department of Defense’s Recent Repeal of Ban on Women in Combat Removes Lone Legal Obstacle for Requiring Women to Register for Draft
Los Angeles (4/4/13) – The National Coalition For Men (NCFM) is a non-profit educational organization that advocates for equal rights for men and women.
The National Coalition For Men has filed a lawsuit that challenges the legality of requiring only males to register for the military draft. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Selective Service System in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on April 4, 2013, Case Number CV13-02391.
The 1981 U.S. Supreme Court equal protection case of Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 (1981) held that men and women were not similarly situated in the U.S. military because women were excluded from combat, therefore women did not have to register for the draft. Dissenting Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, “The Court today places its imprimatur on one of the most potent remaining public expressions of ‘ancient canards about the proper role of women’.”
In January of this year, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that women will be allowed to enter all combat positions in all branches of the U.S. military, thereby removing the sole legal basis for requiring only males to register for the draft.
NCFM’s complaint alleges that because men and women are now similarly situated in the military, Selective Service’s requirement that only males must register for the draft violates the rights of both men and women to equal treatment under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and under United States Code, Title 28, Section 1983.
The plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief, ordering Selective Service to stop discriminating against men and women by requiring both men and women to register for the draft, or by requiring neither to register for the draft.
Men failing to register for the draft can be fined up to $250,000, sentenced to up to five years in prison, and be denied eligibility for federal and state benefits including jobs, financial aid, citizenship, loans, and job training. Only men now face these harsh penalties.
NCFM calls on the Obama Administration and Congress to end the institutional sex discrimination that requires only men to register for the draft. The ancient canard is gone, because women are now eligible for combat roles in all branches of the U.S. military. There is no longer any legal justification for continuing the unequal treatment of our draft age population based solely on their gender. The Selective Service System should treat men and women equally, including imposing penalties against both men and women for failing to register.