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Judge declares U.S. military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy openly banning gay service members unconstitutional [Updated]

A federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional Thursday, saying the “don't ask, don't tell” policy violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy banning gays did not preserve military readiness, contrary to what many supporters have argued, saying evidence shows that the policy in fact had a “direct and deleterious effect’’ on the military.

Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended “don’t ask, don’t tell” during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision.

The ruling comes just over a month after a federal judge in San Francisco tossed out California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, providing back-to-back victories for gay rights advocates seeking policy changes in the courts that have eluded them in Congress and at the ballot box. The case was filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, the largest political organization for gays in the GOP, in 2004.

[Updated at 6:30 p.m.: "As an American, a veteran and an Army reserve officer, I am proud the court ruled that the arcane ‘don't ask, don't tell’ statute violates the Constitution,” said R.Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans & Liberty Education Fund. “Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican service members, but all American service members."]

The ruling is expected to intensify political pressure in Washington to act on legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell," which remains stalled in the Senate despite support from President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership.

President Obama has called the ban a threat to national security, and the U.S. House in May passed legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” if an ongoing Pentagon study determines the military can adapt to the change without harming defense readiness.

Despite Obama’s criticism of the policy, the Justice Department vigorously defended “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ and even tried to undercut the case with a technical legal challenge over whether the named plaintiffs were dues-paying members of the organization that filed the lawsuit: the Log Cabin Republicans.

-- Phil Willon in Riverside County

Comments () | Archives (95)

Homosexuality is an evil corrupted way

It is glad to finally see that the Courts understand and are doing the right thing both with DADT and Gay Marriage - thanks to the California "Division" of Federal Courts. Amen!!!

It's about time.

And, what's with these "log cabin republicans"? Come on over to a party that appreciates you, like the greens or the democrats.

I'm so happy for the Judge's decision it was about time these people protect our country and for them to be treated with such unfairness NO way i applaud to the judge....

Great decision. Next, we need to strike down the bans on same-sex marriage. See

lol who cares what you 100% believe in, you're 100% wrong

lol who cares what you 100% believe in if you're 100% wrong.

Also to the genius who mentioned overturning voters, if a law is unconstitutional it will get overturned, doesn't matter how many people voted it in. Time to go back to civics class!

I've been in the military for 25 years...and I've NEVER heard of any non-military federal judge ruling on ANY military policy or law.

Can ANYONE give me precedence for this action???

Frankly, I'm not sure a federal judge has the authority to do this as it is in the Constitution that Congress and the President has authority over the military.

i thank this judge. i think this policy is unnessecary.

Wow! I coulda' swore this was posted:
Hey 'tard judge: are you and your other 'tard cronies deliberately working to encourage the people of the United States into violent confrontations?
Otherwise, prepare yourself to grant such "equal rights" to EVERY other social perversity that petitions to molest children, serial kill, marry animals, multiple marry, etc.
Geez, does one have to fail an MMSE to qualify becoming a judge?

"Whom I sleep with at night has no effect on how well I can defend my country."

(Devil's advocate here)

When I was in the Army (peacetime, late 80s), it was worth 2 weeks' restrictions and pay to be caught in a female's barracks room. Fully clothed, across the room from each other, and talking about work would still earn you an Article 15.

Just wondering if comparable rules should apply to everyone in the military. If two homosexual soldiers are found in the same barracks room, should they be subject to nonjudicial punishment?

Allen Jones.... From where are you obtaining this information? If DADT were finally ruled unconstitutional, that does not mean in any way that those same homosexual men and women in the military, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, etc would be "forced" out of the closet. If you were the judge ruling on this decision, they would have to declare a mistrial because the judge was an idiot and had no idea what DADT is, and what it ACTUALLY means for our armed forces. WAKE UP ALLEN JONES! BEFORE YOU POST ANYTHING, MAKE SURE YOU THINK ABOUT AND RESEARCH THE SUBJECT!!

As the President of the Riverside County/Palm Springs Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, retired 20 year career naval aviator and Disabled American Veteran I celebrate the decision by a United States District Court judge to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as an unconstitutional violation of servicemembers’ rights to free speech and due process as I have been there at the "Blunt end of the bat" so to speak!

The local Palm Springs Log Cabin Republicans are enthusiastic that the court ruled the harmful Don't Ask Don't Tell statute violates the Constitution. I have personally witnessed far too many careers lost to this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy during my twenty years in the military. Its time we joined the ranks of other international military organizations with the right for GLBT's to serve honorably in the military.

I too am proud Log Cabin Republicans brought this suit in October 2004. As a Palm Springs Log Cabin club member I was privileged to have shared my legitimate military experiences on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for consideration prior to the trial with the attorney’s at White & Case. Your efforts along with local and national Log Cabin Republicans are moving the country in the right direction for the rights of free speech and due process for all Americans. A job well done!

Dennis M Stratton, Retired Naval Flight Engineer
President, Riverside County/Palm Springs Chapter
Log Cabin Republicans

i have read up on this for the past couple of months, i can not wait for the day that i can just say im gay and not have to worry about my future career with going into the military

My one year mark in the AF is coming up, right on the fiscal year, and I can't wait for the start of a beautiful and long career in the finest military WITHOUT having to hide myself. I haven't been in very long, so I can't imagine what it's been like for my seniors... but change is on its merry way. Blacks and women both serve, and it's our time to do so as well.

As I read some of the other posts on here I find myself very disturbed by how some people think. I myself was in the military, I am not gay but I have a sister who is. I can't imagine anybody that I served with caring whether anybody in my unit was gay. I would suspect that those you would care the most are those who too have homosexual feelings. Think about it if you are secure with your sexuality do you really care about what others are doing with their own sexuality. Sadly anti-homosexual beliefs are closely related to the anti-african american beliefs that we worked so long and hard to eliminate. Is this kind of hatred something we really want to relive. People need to open their eyes and their minds and realize we are all not the same, and that it is not a choice. A choice is something usually that when you declare your decision you feel better because of it. If homosexuality is a choice where is their relief....when there are so many hardships against them. This legislation is just one of many in the right direction.

It is so ludacris to try to put a law on anybodys sexual prefference your with who u wanna be with so mind ur busness n leave the gay community alone...funny how many want to give an opinion on how gays shouldnt be open about it but yet half of you guys dont even have the balls to get in the military who are we to tell anyone who to love? Im all for human rights n gays should be treated equal they includin myself are human beings no diff from anybody!

this is not right towards the homosexual the constitution states we the people not we the straight.

Heaven forbid that the guy standing next to you willing to die to get you home should have an emotional reason for doing just that. That would destroy the military.
The military is under civilian control by the constitution. It is subject to federal court rulings on several issues. The real weird thing is that the congress passed a bill to regulate military conduct in such a blatant fashion, that's unheard of. There are many cases were federal courts have heard issues with the military and sided against the military. If you haven't found one its because you haven't looked. The federal courts have jurisdiction on everything covered under the constitution, its a part of the system allowing for redress of the government, another right granted under the constitution.

Everyone makes it seem as if the DADT policy is looking to kick people out. Yes society is more tolerant of a homosexual preference these days. Yes, the American society is beginning to allow homosexual marriages. Great! Wonderful! But the day that I have to worry about wether or not the guy two feet from me changing in my living quarters on a SHIP (that's right, I currently serve) will be a distraction. Yes, I have seen and served with people that I thought were gay. Yes, their attitude and actions are distracting and contradictory to "good order and discipline", a key item to maintain in the military. DADT has one thing to it. Keep it to yourself. If you don't like hearing about heterosexual acts as a homosexual, say so, we have sexual harassment policies in place. The obscene amount of 2 cent comments that I am seeing infuriates me. The American society does not understand the pressures and issues that the military faces, and the fact that another countries military allows it does not say anything. Europe also allows widespread prostitution and nude beaches. They are a more liberal society, that's all there is to it. Therefore they are a bad comparison. I'll get off my soap box now. Please support the military, but don't try to push a civilian society ideal onto the military.

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