Judge Issues Worldwide ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Injunction

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips on Tuesday issued an immediate worldwide injunction against enforcement of the military’s ban on openly gay personnel known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, giving the Department of Justice 60 days to appeal the ruling.

The injunction calls on the Department of Defense to “immediately [...] suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding” that relate to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Read the ruling here.

It has been suggested that the DOJ is not obligated to appeal the injunction and, given President Obama’s apparent opposition to DADT, it is unclear at this time what course of action they will take.

However, the DOJ may move swiftly to have the decision stayed pending a decision to appeal, and therefore DADT discharges could continue.

From the New York Times:

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Legal experts say they are under no legal obligation to do so and could let Phillips’ ruling stand.

The federal government is reviewing the ruling and has no immediate comment, said Tracy Schmaler, spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Phillips declared the law unconstitutional after a two-week nonjury trial in federal court in Riverside and said she would issue a nationwide injunction. But she asked first for input from Department of Justice attorneys and the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.

The Log Cabin Republicans asked her for an immediate injunction so the policy can no longer be used against any U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world.

In her ruling, Phillips found that the 17-year-old DADT policy violates the free-speech and due process rights of lesbian and gay servicemembers and fulfills no compelling interest in terms of unit cohesion or troop retention. The Department of Justice had argued that the matter should be settled by Congress and said that an injunction against discharges would only serve to undercut the repeal effort. Judge Phillips disagreed. You can read more about Judge Phillips’ original ruling here.

The legislative portion of the repeal effort was dealt a heavy blow last month when, attached to defense authorization legislation, it was filibustered in the Senate.

It still remains to be seen whether the legislation will be reconsidered in the lame duck session following the November midterms.


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to the U.S. Army Photostream.

44 comments

Jamey Weston
Jamey Weston8 years ago

Ok DENNIS. so women shouldn't be allowed to join? I'm not so sure you'll need to worry about it anyway;

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bob m.
bob m8 years ago

S'ok bubba; this has absolutely no connection whatsoever to penis size or IQ.
If It does....welll..lllllllllllll

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Allan Y.
.8 years ago

Just end the damn policy already.

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Bart V.
Bart V.8 years ago

The comments by those opposed, show an appalling lack of understanding about homosexuals, period. Most of America's allies have integrated gays into the military with no negative impact whatsoever, but as an asset to the service. Over the past several years alone; hundreds of service people have been discharged because of sexual orientation, including many translators who might well have saved lives by intercepting messages amongst terrorists. The late Barry Goldwater said "you don't have to be straight to shoot straight."

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John T.
John T8 years ago

4. The argument about close quarters and locker rooms and the like are just silly. Men and women in the military serve in close quarters. I personally do not fear some gay guy "coming on" to me in a locker room.

5. I agree with the President that the Congress needs to take a stand on this issue. Vote on it...just this issue, not attached to another bill. Make it a public vote and make your vote heard. The Congress needs to have the courage to not allow the courts to do the job of lawmakers.

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John T.
John T8 years ago

From another blog posting:

ColJim1956
I am a retired military colonel. I know this is an emotional issue, but I am convinced of a few things on this:1. The law will change. DADT was always an interim step on the way to allowing gays to serve openly in the military. I have known gays in the military and I still do. Their "gayness" n... more
I am a retired military colonel. I know this is an emotional issue, but I am convinced of a few things on this:

1. The law will change. DADT was always an interim step on the way to allowing gays to serve openly in the military. I have known gays in the military and I still do. Their "gayness" never affected their military performance.

2. It is the right time to do this. There is scant evidence to show that having a gay person serve alongside you is going to make you any less able to do your job. A few years ago, gays in any workplace were openly discriminated against. Now, most mature adults know this is a non-issue.

3. I know the transition will be difficult, as the transition was difficult for some when President Truman integrated the military. At that time, many predicted a revolt in the ranks and complete loss of good order and discipline. Though there were some difficulties, the sky did not fall.

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John T.
John T8 years ago

That's fine Chief. But-------that was then and this is now.
The hold overs from that era are DADT and the M-16, both a piece of s#!t (although, technically, DADT came in the 90s, gay hate pre-dated it by decades).

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Dennis Cooney
Dennis Cooney8 years ago

OK so now we have a world wide injunction against DADT.
Good. Now let us find a way, if there is a way, to sort this all out. I am ex-military. I was on active duty for 21 years. I joined the Navy in 1961 and in those days the Navy ferreted out the gays and discharged them right then and there, That worked pretty well. Maybe while we contemplate what to do next we shold just inform any and all recruits that if it is revealed tha the person is gay it is an immediate discharge. We don't have time to play games with people. If you are not gay, you can stay. If you are gay, goodbye, so long, nice to see ya....don't come back. If ya forgot somethin' we will ship it to ya. SEE YA!!

You can call me a racist, I don't care. I need the guy behind me in wartime to be there because he wants to help me eliminate the enemy, not a kiss on the cheek or run his fingers through my hair!!!

DC Cooney, USN Retired, Vietnam Veteran-3 tours

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Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS8 years ago

Bravo to U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips for her integrity in making a logical, unprejudiced, unbiased decision!

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John T.
John T8 years ago

The main trouble with DADT is not in the fox hole as some would have you believe. Emily P. is a veteran and I doubt (she can correct me) that LGBT activities have ever been a prime thought in any mission critical situation.
Whether it's the soldier in the fox hole or the Trauma Nurse in a MASH, there just isn't the time to worry about SEX.
The true horror of DADT is at home, on the base in the USA.
We've all seen the videos of the troops coming home. Their wives and children running into Daddy or Mommy's arms for the first time in months.
That's the 1st place DADT rears it's ugly head. The LGBT soldier can not have their spouse there. That's 'telling'.
On base, the DADT 'spouse', first, isn't allowed, and 2nd doesn't qualify for ANY of the privileges a hetero spouse gets automatically.
Commissary, BX, medical, dental,- hell, they can't even go to the movies.
Okay, you say, move off base.
How.
Without a 'family', the DADT trooper can't get Separate Rations or qualify for housing for 2.
If s/he DID reveal the spouse, that's 'telling'.
DADT is wrong in so many ways.
It is, by definition, discrimination.
It's archaic and, as the Israelis demonstrate, not mission disabling.

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