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A federal judge has ruled that policy that prohibits openly homosexual members from serving in the U.S. military is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif., issued her ruling late Thursday in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America, about two months after the Log Cabin Republicans went to trial against the U.S. government seeking to strike down the 1993 statute. “The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act infringes the fundamental rights of United States servicemembers in many ways,” Phillips wrote in an 86-page opinion. “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.” Phillips found that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell impeded both the Fifth and First Amendment rights of homosexuals and granted a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the law. “We are delighted with the court’s ruling in favor of Log Cabin Republicans in this important case,” said Dan Woods, a partner at White & Case’s Los Angeles office who represents Log Cabin Republicans, in a prepared statement. “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.” A U.S. government official could not be reached for comment by press time. Phillips cited President Obama’s statements that the policy “doesn’t contribute to our national security” and actually “weakens our national security.” She also found that Log Cabin Republicans had established standing to bring the suit, rejecting a key defense for the U.S. government in the case. The policy forbids gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed forces. Congress is weighing a proposal to eliminate the ban.

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