A federal judge in Riverside, California has ruled DADT to be a violation of the First Amendment rights of gay and lesbian soldiers. The ruling arose from a challenge filed by the Log Cabin Republicans.
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.
Log Cabin Republicans head R. Clarke Cooper reacts: “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.”
VIDEO: Rachel Maddow covers today’s ruling.
As noted above, the federal government may appeal the decision. It is unclear what the status of DADT may be in the meantime. The Department of Justice has until September 23rd to submit objections to the judge’s injunction.
Servicemembers United note that their executive director is the sole “injured party” named in the Log Cabin Republicans’ suit.
“This is an historic moment and an historic ruling for the gay military community and for the readiness and integrity of our Armed Forces” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former multi-lingual U.S. Army interrogator who was discharaged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ “As the only named injured party in this case, I am exceedingly proud to have been able to represent all who have been impacted and had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy. We are finally on our way to vindication.”
VIDEO: Anderson Cooper covers the ruling.
More on this tonight as it develops. Here is the court’s ruling.
DADT — US District, virginia phillips