– Civil liberties hit U.S. Mil –
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the United States military to stop enforcing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving.
Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California issued an injunction banning enforcement of the law and ordered the military to immediately “suspend and discontinue” any investigations or proceedings to dismiss service members.
In language much like that in her Sept. 9 ruling declaring the law unconstitutional, Judge Phillips wrote that the 17-year-old policy “infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members” and violates their rights of due process and freedom of speech.
While the decision is likely to be appealed by the government, the new ruling represents a significant milestone for gay rights in the United States.
Two other recent decisions have overturned restrictions on gay rights at the state and federal levels. Tuesday’s ruling, in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America, could have a potentially sweeping impact, as it would apply to all United States service members anywhere in the world.