Federal Judge Rules “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Unconstitutional

It’s become a ritual here on GatorUptown.com that every few weeks I post something about the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning homosexuals from serving in the Armed Forces. Well, yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips that DADT is unconstitutional has triggered another entry.

Surprisingly, the lawsuit that prompted this decision was initially brought forward from the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of 19,000 conservative gays and lesbians who side with most of the Republican Party’s principles (if not necessarily all of their social conservatism.)

Log Cabin lawyers argued that the ban is unconstitutional because of the Fifth Amendment’s protections of free speech, open association and right to due process. To bolster their case, they also included statements from the military’s current Commander-in-Chief, Pres. Obama, saying that DADT weakens national security.

Now Judge Phillips is saying she plans to issue an order to stop the government from enforcing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the grounds that such action would deprive gay and lesbian military personnel of their Constitutional rights. Opponents argue she doesn’t have the authority to issue a national injunction.

Either way, there are some interesting unknowns for the future of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The government could choose to appeal the judge’s decision, which would leave them in the continually awkward position of defending a policy that the President (and the House of Representatives) have vowed to overturn. And the Senate is set to take up the issue of DADT this year also, following suit with the House’s legislation earlier this summer overturning the practice.

Stay tuned, military gays and lesbians!

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