Judge Strikes Down 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

Federal judge declares ban on gays unconstitutional
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2010 11:40 AM CDT
Updated Sep 10, 2010 7:42 AM CDT
Judge Strikes Down 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
Service members chain themselves to the fence outside the White House during a protest against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A federal judge in California has declared the ban on gays serving openly in the military unconstitutional, and said she will issue an order overturning the "don't ask, don't tell" policy nationwide. Judge Virginia Phillips ruled that the policy violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of gay service members and has a "direct and deleterious effect" on military readiness, AP reports. She has a week to issue an injunction, and the government will have a week to respond.

Typically, the next step would be for the government to request a temporary injunction, which would give it time to appeal the decision. But CNN notes that the Pentagon and White House's indication that they would push to end "don't ask, don't tell" puts yesterday's decision in a different light. Phillips noted that the Obama administration's defense against the lawsuit has been minimal, with no witnesses called and no affirmative case presented. "It''ll be an interesting decision for our president to decide whether to appeal," said a lawyer for the group that filed the suit. "He's said that 'don't ask, don't tell' weakens national security, and now it's been declared unconstitutional. If he does appeal, we're going to fight like heck."
(Read more Log Cabin Republicans stories.)

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