Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court struck down the rule in an opinion issued late in the day [yesterday].LA Times—Federal judge rules 'don't ask, don't tell' policy is unconstitutional:
..."The don't ask, don't tell act infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members in many ways," she wrote. "In order to justify the encroachment on these rights, defendants faced the burden at trial of showing the don't ask, don't tell act was necessary to significantly further the government's important interests in military readiness and unit cohesion. Defendants failed to meet that burden."
U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy does not preserve military readiness, contrary to what Justice Department attorneys and many supporters have argued, because evidence shows that the policy in fact has had a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services.Washington Post—Judge in California rules on military's ban on openly gay service members:
Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the Justice Department, which defended "don't ask, don't tell" during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision.
Thursday's ruling came in a case filed in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans, the largest gay GOP political organization. It is the first successful legal challenge to the policy since Congress enacted it in 1993.
Citing testimony at a two-week trial in July by experts and former service members, Phillips wrote: "All of these examples demonstrate that the act's restrictions on speech not only are broader than reasonably necessary to protect the government's substantial interests, but also actually serve to impede military readiness and unit cohesion rather than further these goals."Thank you, Judge Phillips. Way to go, Log Cabin Republicans. Feel the homomentum!
...Phillips criticized the government's defense in her ruling, writing, "It again must be noted that Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act."
On the other side, she said, the military was hurt by discharging servicemembers who had performed well in combat and other situations, and it had forced gays in the ranks to hide their true identities, denied their ability to have personal relationships and kept them from expressing themselves even in private communications.