Federal Judge Declares U.S. Military Gay Ban UnconstitutionalS

A federal judge declared the U.S. military's anti-gay "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy unconstitutional, because it violates the First Amendment rights of gays. Not only that: She ruled that the policy has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the military.

Virginia Phillips, a U.S. District Court Judge in California, just issued an injunction intended to prevent the government from enforcing "Don't Ask Don't Tell," based on her finding that the policy—which allows for the discharging of service members for (in her words) "writing a private letter, in a foreign language, to a person of the same sex with whom they shared an intimate relationship before volunteering for military service"—violated the free speech right of gay men and women to free speech.

She didn't mince words, either! Phillips found that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" doesn't preserve troop readiness and has a "deleterious" (bad) effect on the military. (She also burned the Justice Department, writing that "defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the act." Sick.)

Of course, the Justice Department's lawyers will have a chance to appeal, and most likely will. If nothing else, the ruling will—as the Los Angeles Times says—"intensify political pressure in Washington to act on legislation to repeal" the policy.

The case—"the biggest legal test of the law in recent years," according to the Associated Press—was originally brought against the government by the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay group, in 2004. You can read the whole ruling here (via Politico), if you'd like, though, unfortunately, there are no sex scenes.

[LAT; pic, of Lt. Dan Choi chaining himself to the White House gates in protest, via Getty]