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Judge Orders Military to Stop Enforcing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Jamie Reno writes the Home Post military blog for KPBS.

CNN and other news organizations are reporting today that a federal judge has ordered that the U.S. military stop enforcing the don’t ask, don’t tell policy on Tuesday. Judge Virginia Phillips ordered the military to “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.”

Joseph Rocha was honorably discharged from the Navy under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'
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Above: Joseph Rocha was honorably discharged from the Navy under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

The judge had previously ruled that the policy regarding gays serving in the military violated service members Fifth Amendment rights but delayed issuing the injunction. The decision was reached after a two-week trial in federal court in Riverside. The military was sued by Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group. An appeal by the Department of Justice is anticipated.

Joseph Rocha, 24, a senior at the University of San Diego studying political science who I profiled on the Home Post blog a few weeks ago, signed a document admitting his homosexuality and was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2007 under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Rocha was a key witness in the Log Cabin lawsuit, and apparently eight pages of the judge’s decision addresses Rocha’s case.

“She ruled the policy was unconstitutional back on Sept. 9 according to both the First and Fifth Amendments, and today she came through with the injunction,” says Rocha. “I am obviously pleased. We don’t know what to expect at this point from the Dept. of Justice, an appeal, perhaps. But if they don’t appeal, this is a done deal and it means the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”

Rocha adds, “President Obama, has never been supportive of the repeal going through the courts, he’d prefer it to be mandated by Congress. But at this point, it would be nice for the President to step in here. We have backing now on constitutional grounds from a no-nonsense, conservative judge. We’ll see what happens.”

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