Calif. Judge Stops 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy

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A California judge says the military's ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional and she will issue a court order to stop it.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled Thursday the policy violates a homosexual's First and Fifth Amendment rights.

The policy doesn't help military readiness and instead has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services by hurting recruitment efforts during wartime and requiring the discharge of service members who have critical skills and training, she said.

A group known as The Log Cabin Republicans filed a lawsuit in 2004. The group said over 13,5000 service members have been fired since 1994.

Phillips will write the order with input from the group within a week, and the federal government will have a week to respond. Government lawyers said the judge does not have the authority to issue a nationwide injunction.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a marine veteran, said the judge over-stepped her authority. One reason he opposes ending the Don't Ask Don't, Tell Policy it because it will violate religious liberty.

"Chaplains will be muzzled in their ability to preach the whole council of God," Perkins said. "In fact, I believe you will see a mass exodus of chaplains from the military if, in fact, the military is forced to throw open its arms to embrace homosexuality."

The U.S. House of Representatives voted in May to repeal the policy. The Senate is expected to address the issue this year.

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