A federal judge in Riverside, California has ruled that the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy violates the first amendment, and due process rights of gay and lesbian servicemembers. The case was brought by Log
Cabin Republicans. Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a statement “Today, the ruling is not just a win for Log Cabin Republican servicemembers, but all American servicemembers.”
Alex Nicholson, head of Servicemembers United and the only named injured party in the case, said “I am exceedingly proud to have been able to represent all who have been impacted and had their lives ruined by this blatantly unconstitutional policy. We are finally on our way to vindication.”
Kate Kendell from the National Center for Lesbian Rights said “Once again, those who seek to defend discriminatory government policies failed to present a shred of evidence to justify laws that are based entirely on prejudice and fear.”
Lead Attorney Dan Woods said “We are delighted with the court’s ruling in favor of Log Cabin Republicans in this important case. The court’s opinion finds that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is unconstitutional, and the court will issue a permanent injunction preventing the government from further enforcement of this unconstitutional statute,”
Woods told The Advocate “We won’t have to wait for a filibuster, for a Senate vote, for the November midterm elections. That was the whole reason to have this trial.”
Tony Perkins of the anti-gay Family Research Council reacted negatively to the decision saying, “Once again, homosexual activists have found a judicial activist who will aid in the advancement of their agenda.”
We at GLAAD will be watching carefully to make sure the mainstream media doesn’t give Perkins an unchallenged forum.
The ruling will not take effect right away. Judge Virgnia Phillips asked the plaintiffs to submit a proposed judgment, including a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law, by September 16th. And the Justice Department, which defended the policy in court, can appeal the ruling. The Justice Department has until September 23rd to submit objections to the court regarding Phillips’ injunction.