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The law helped give the state attorney general’s office the necessary legal standing to challenge the federal health care overhaul in court. Last week, a federal judge in Virginia ruled in the state’s favor, striking down key parts of the health care law.

The ruling marked the first dent in the president’s signature initiative and another legal victory for Mr. Marshall.

Now his sights are set on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.

“President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security while Americans in uniform are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, might be called into battle in Korea,” he said.

“In countries where religions and cultures find homosexual acts immoral, the Obama administration’s repeal policy will work to the detriment of all American troops in securing local cooperation with our nation’s foreign-policy goals,” he said.

Though the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the statutory ban date only from the 1990s, Mr. Marshall argues that it really tosses aside 232 years of American military tradition, saying “the practice of barring homosexual participation in the armed forces dates back to the American Revolution, when Gen. George Washington commanded the Continental Army.”

“Gen. Washington did not tolerate personal behavior by his troops that was incompatible with the character traits he expected from his soldiers in exercising their military duty,” he said. “In March of 1778, Washington discharged, via public rebuke, a soldier who had attempted a homosexual act with another soldier and then lied about it under oath.”