Federal judge rules “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional today, saying it violates the First Amendment.

The Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican political organization, filed the lawsuit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as a representative of the United States.

The ruling states that “The don’t ask, don’t tell act infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members in many ways … In order to justify the encroachment on these rights, defendants faced the burden at trial of showing the don’t ask, don’t tell act was necessary to significantly further the government’s important interests in military readiness and unit cohesion. Defendants failed to meet that burden.”

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Philips, a Bill Clinton appointee, also said that the policy had a “direct and deleterious effect” on military forces. She also noted President Barack Obama administration’s anti-DADT stance by writing that the “Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the act.”

Obama has called the ban a threat to national security, and the House of Representatives voted to repeal the policy in May.