Federal Judge: DADT Unconstitutional, Will Issue Injunction Against Enforcement

In a suit brought by the Log Cabin Republicans in federal court in Southern California, Judge Virginia A Phillips has declared that the policy of the United State military known as Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell that bars gays and lesbians from service violates the First Amendment and is thus unconstitutional. Judge Phillips will issue an injunction barring the Department of Defense from enforcing DADT, which is expected to be appealed by the government.

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.

An update to the LATimes blog story on this ruling highlights the political schizophrenia of the Obama Administration on DADT:

President Obama has called the ban a threat to national security, and the U.S. House in May passed legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” if an ongoing Pentagon study determines the military can adapt to the change without harming defense readiness.

Despite Obama’s criticism of the policy, the Justice Department vigorously defended “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ and even tried to undercut the case with a technical legal challenge over whether the named plaintiffs were dues-paying members of the organization that filed the lawsuit: the Log Cabin Republicans.

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