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Federal Judge Virginia A. Phillips Issues Permanent Injunction Against DADT
photo submitted by
Bruce-Michael Gelbert
Judge Virginia A. Phillips
On October 12, in Riverside, California, United States District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips, of the Central District of California, ruling on the case of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America and Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, filed in 2004, issued a permanent injunction against the enforcement or application of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which "infringes the fundamental rights of [LGBT] United States servicemembers and prospective servicemembers and violates (a) the substantive due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and (b) the rights to freedom of speech and to petition the Government for redress of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."

In the ruling, Judge Phillips "permanently enjoins Defendants the United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command" and "orders [the] Defendants ... immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have commenced under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Act."

Christian Berle, Deputy Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans, said, "A world-wide injunction was the only reasonable solution. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen sacrifice so much in defense of our nation and our Constitution. It is imperative that their constitutional freedoms be protected as well ... No longer will our military be compelled to discharge servicemembers with valuable skills and experience because of an archaic policy mandating irrational discrimination. The United States is stronger because of this injunction."

Dan Woods, the attorney who represented Log Cabin Republicans in the lawsuit, said, "We are extremely pleased with Judge Phillips' decision granting an immediate and permanent injunction barring the US military from carrying out its 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. This order represents a complete and total victory ... and reaffirms the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians in the military who are fighting and dying for our country."

Hailing the decision with the words, "Amazing news!" Rick Jacobs, Chair of the California-based Courage Campaign, added, "Now Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department have a choice: fight the decision or let it stand. If they choose not to appeal the injunction, it will move 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' one step closer to the dustbin of history." Courage Campaign is petitioning Holder "to request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) refrain from appealing the federal district court injunction in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, following the court decision declaring the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) law unconstitutional. The leaders of our nation's armed forces understand the DADT serves no purpose in the laws of our nation; it is time for the DOJ to stop defending this law."

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