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Federal judge orders U.S. military to cease enforcement of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Federal judge orders U.S. military to cease enforcement of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

A federal judge today issued a nationwide injunction ordering the U.S. military today to immediately cease enforcement of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” ending, at least for now, the military’s 17-year-old ban on openly gay and lesbian service members.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled last month that the ban was “unconstitutional,” as it violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Phillips said the policy doesn’t help military readiness and instead has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.

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In today’s ruling, the Judge order the “United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.”

Full ruling here (PDF).

President Obama has called the policy discriminatory and in his State of the Union address earlier this year, he urged Congress to repeal it. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has continued to defend the policy in court.

The U.S. House voted for repeal in May, but a Republican-led filibuster blocked a Senate vote just weeks ago.

More as this story develops.

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