A federal judge in Southern California on Thursday declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of gay and lesbians.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips granted a request for an injunction halting the government’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy for gays in the military.
Phillips said the policy doesn’t help military readiness and instead has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services.
The lawsuit was the biggest legal test of the law in recent years and came amid promises by President Barack Obama that he will work to repeal the policy.
Government lawyers argued Phillips lacked the authority to issue a nationwide injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress.
The injunction was sought by the Log Cabin Republicans, a 19,000-member group that includes current and former military members.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said Thursday she will issue an injunction that would halt the enforcement of the government’s ”don’t ask, don’t tell’‘ policy nationwide.
Phillips says the policy doesn’t help military readiness and instead has a ”direct and deleterious effect.”
The Log Cabin Republicans filed the lawsuit in 2004. Phillips says she will draft the injunction with input from the group within a week and the government will have a week to respond.
The case comes amid promises by President Barack Obama that he will work to repeal the policy.