With a judge’s ruling, the 17-year-old policy of refusing to acknowledge gay and lesbian members of the military is closer to becoming extinct than ever before.
The AP reports that earlier today, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued an injunction to cease all practice of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in American military settings.
The case was filed in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights advocacy group. Judge Phillips said that members of the organization “established at trial that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act irreparably injures servicemembers by infringing their fundamental rights.”
Attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice have the option to appeal within the next 60 days.
“The order represents a complete and total victory for the Log Cabin Republicans and reaffirms the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians in the military who are fighting and dying for our country,” Dan Woods, an attorney for the group, told the AP.
The ruling comes on the heels of a spate of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in New York — including one that occurred at the Stonewall Inn, a symbolic birthplace of the gay rights movement — as well as gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s statements that some say discriminate based on sexual orientation. “I don’t want [our children] brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option—it isn’t,” The Observer reported him saying to a crowd at a synagogue in Borough Park last Sunday. Paladino’s comments have since been the subject of scorn from a number of gay and lesbian advocacy groups, as well as politicians from both parties.
The Senate lost an opportunity to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last month when Republican members blocked a bill that included a provision that would do so.