A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the
Pentagon to stop enforcing its policy that bans gay and bisexual
troops from serving openly, known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
Last month, U.S.
District Judge Virginia Phillips declared the 1993 law, which
prescribes discharge for gay, lesbian and bisexual service members
who do not remain closeted or celibate, an unconstitutional violation
of the First and Fifth Amendment rights of gay troops. She said the
policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed
In Tuesday's order Phillips granted
plaintiffs, represented by gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, the
injunction they sought. Justice Department lawyers argued that the
order should apply only to Log Cabin members, but Phillips disagreed.
“Defendants United States of America
and the Secretary of Defense [are ordered] 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' [policy] … on or prior to the date of this judgment,”
Christian Berle, acting executive
director of Log Cabin Republicans, told the Washington Post that
the injunction “was the only reasonable solution.”
“These soldiers, sailors, airmen and
marines sacrifice so much in defense of our nation and our
constitution,” Berle said.
The order is likely to be appealed to
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, said Aubrey
Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN), the largest group lobbying for repeal of the policy.
The ruling comes after Democrats
in the Senate failed to break a Republican filibuster on legislative
repeal of the Clinton-era law.
“The law still has a chance of being
repealed in the lame duck session of Congress,” Sarvis said in a