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Federal judge declares DADT unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Riverside, California ruled late Thursday that the US military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy violates the U.S. Constitution.

District Court Judge Virginia Phillips caught many people by surprise, issuing her ruling around 6:00pm Pacific time.

But you didn’t have to read to the end of the 85-page decision to find her conclusion. In the second paragraph Judge Phillips said that the Log Cabin Republicans had demonstrated that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, “on its face, violates the constitutional rights of (service) members.”

She also said Log Cabin was entitled to a permanent injunction barring further enforcement of the law.

The reaction was immediate: The straight Republican attorney who has been representing Log Cabin pro bono in this law suit since 2004 — Dan Woods — told OutQ News he was “delighted” with the ruling. He said, “This is a major victory in the fight for equality and means that military service will be available to all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Servicemember United Director and Log Cabin member Alex Nicholson was an Army linguist fired under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He testified at the trial in Riverside this July. Nicholson told OutQ News that he was “exceedingly proud” to to represent those who “had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy.”

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network director and Army veteran Aubrey Sarvis said he was “pleased” by the decision–but noted that the ruling will likely be appealed and meanwhile  Congress should repeal the law it put into effect 17 years ago.

–Karen Ocamb in West Hollywood

For continuing updates on this story visit Karen Ocamb’s news blog, LGBT POV.

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Written by OutQ News staff

September 10, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Posted in Law, Military

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