Federal Judge Strikes Down DADT: ‘Deleterious Effect’ on Military

September 10, 2010

(ChattahBox US News)—The Department of Justice is deciding whether to appeal a federal court decision, declaring the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy” unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips struck down the policy on Thursday, finding that the policy not only violated the First Amendment, but it had a “direct and deleterious effect’’ on the military. This ruling is a great victory for the LGBT community and it places pressure on Congress to advance legislation eliminating the “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy” that has forced thousands of service men and women out of the military.

The federal lawsuit was filed by members of the Log Cabin Republicans.

The LA Times writes:

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 House passed legislation repealing the 17-year old policy in May. But the repeal will not be implemented until the Pentagon completes an evaluation of the policy in December.

As previously reported by ChattahBox: “Both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, support a repeal of the policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly, but Gates requested more time with a study, to ease the military through the transition. The White House compromise allows the study to go forward, while still permitting lawmakers to hold a vote.”

However, like many good pieces of legislation passed by the House, the repeal of DADT is now stalled in the dysfunctional Senate.


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