June 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear an appeal from a men's group that's challenging the male-only military draft registration, arguing that it discriminates by gender.
The National Coalition for Men and two other men petitioned the Supreme Court in January and asked that it declare draft registration is required for everyone regardless of sex. The group says men are singled out in facing penalties if they don't complete registration, but women aren't.
The Supreme Court last upheld the male-only registration draft requirement in 1981, saying at the time that women aren't needed to register because they are excluded from combat roles in the military -- a reality that has since changed.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in a statement Monday that the court's refusal was made in deference to Congress, which she said should decide the matter. Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh signed on to Sotomayor's statement.
"At least, for now, the court's longstanding deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue," Sotomayor wrote. "I agree with the court's decision to deny the petition for a writ of certiorari."
The men's coalition, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, has cited the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in its argument to overturn the 1981 ruling.
"The Military Selective Service Act is based on outdated and sexist notions of women's and men's abilities to serve in the military, regardless of individual ability," Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, said in January.
"Limiting registration to men treats women as unfit for this obligation of citizenship and reflects the outmoded belief that men aren't qualified to be caregivers in the event of a draft. Such sex stereotypes have no place in our federal law."
It's possible that the Supreme Court could decide to take up the issue at a future date.