Judge: You must let them serve openly

A judge yesterday ordered the Pentagon to stop banning openly gay men and women from serving in the military after ruling last month that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in California rejected the administration’s request to limit her ruling to only military personnel who are members of the Log Cabin Republicans, the organization that sued to overturn the policy.

Phillips said in a 15-page order that because she had ruled that the policy was unconstitutional, the only proper remedy was to grant the organization a broad injunction barring the U.S. military from enforcing its policy.

The law had barred homosexual acts in the military but allowed gay men and lesbians to serve in the armed forces so long as they keep their sexual orientation private. Otherwise, they are to be expelled.

Phillips found that it violated the First and Fifth amendments to the Constitution and asked the two sides for comment on possible remedies, including a permanent injunction against the policy.

Phillips enjoined the Pentagon from enforcing the policy against anyone under its jurisdiction and told the Defense Department to suspend or end any pending investigation, discharge or other proceedings under the policy.

A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the ruling.



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