As promised, a federal judge has issued an injunction blocking the military from enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Judge Virginia Philips last month found the policy unconstitutional in her ruling on a lawsuit brought by the Log Cabin Republicans and said she would issue an injunction blocking the Defense Department from enforcing the policy and discharging openly gay servicemembers.
The Justice Department objected.“A court should not compel the executive to implement an immediate cessation of the 17-year-old policy without regard for any effect such an abrupt change might have on the military’s operations, particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe,” attorneys said in their objection, filed in U.S. District Court in California.
In her injunction today, Philips ordered the DOD “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Act.”
She also wrote that DADT “infringes the fundamental rights of United States servicemembers and prospective servicemembers.”
In an amended opinion filed with the injunction, Philips wrote that although “judicial deference” to Congress is at its peak concerning the armed forces, “deference does not mean abdication.”
A spokeswoman for the DOJ said the department is reviewing the injunction and has no comment.
Servicemembers United, a gay veterans group which was a plaintiff on the case, lauded the decision but warned that it doesn’t mean DADT is over.
“While this is certainly news to be celebrated, we would also advise caution in advance of a potential stay from the Ninth Circuit. If the appellate court wishes to put itself on the right side of history, however, it will allow this sound and long-over due decision to remain in effect,” the executive director said in a statement.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Netowrk, which represents troops discharged under DADT, also warned servicemembers to be careful.
“Service members must proceed safely and should not come out at this time,” the group wrote in a statement.
The full injunction: