Late Tuesday afternoon, Judge Virginia Phillips, District Court judge for the Central District of California, denied a request by the Department of Justice to stay her ruling finding that the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law violated the constitutional rights of current and future lesbian and gay members of the armed services.

In a clear and emphatic order, Judge Phillips found that the DOJ had not come forward with any evidence that staying her ruling on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would create a likelihood of irreparable harm to military readiness.  Instead, and perhaps most importantly, she reiterated her earlier ruling that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy itself undermined military readiness and unit cohesion by undermining military recruiting of qualified and able men and women on account of their sexual orientation “when our country is at war and requiring the discharge of service members with critical skills and training.”

Judge Phillips’ refusal to stay the suspension of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was in so many respects an easy case.  The Justice Department offered no new or compelling reasons for delaying the suspension of the policy other than that they’d like more time to think about it.  In denying the government’s application for a stay Judge Phillips rightly found that the public has an interest in military readiness, unit cohesion, and the preservation of fundamental constitutional rights, and all three of these important values require the immediate open and non-discriminatory integration of lesbian and gay people into the U.S. military.

More thoughts on the government’s arguments here.

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