For Immediate Release
Equality California Praises Federal Court “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” Injunction
SACRAMENTO - U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips
has issued an injunction ending enforcement of the discriminatory
federal policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the
military. In September, Judge Phillips ruled that “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell” was unconstitutional because the ban violated the first amendment
and due process rights of gay and lesbian service members.
In response, Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued the following statement:
“Today’s ruling is a long-awaited triumph for the
courageous gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers who can finally serve in
the military openly and honestly, without fear of reprisal. These
soldiers who sacrifice for our nation everyday will at long last be
treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Congratulations to
the Log Cabin Republicans for this historic victory, which could not
have happened without their dedication.
“We implore the Obama Administration and the Department
of Justice not to appeal this ruling and instead to take a decisive
stand for equality. This is President Obama’s chance to be the fierce
advocate he promised to be.”
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was first authorized in 1994.
Since that time, more than 13,500 service members have been discharged
under the policy, including more than 800 specialists serving in
'critical operations,' such as counterintelligence, medicine, and
translation. According to a General Accounting Office report, 323
language specialists have been discharged, resulting in a critical
shortage of qualified translators in intelligence gathering posts.
More than 24 other nations currently allow
gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals to serve openly in their
militaries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, alongside whom
American forces have served in combat. Recent public opinion polls show
that a majority of both the American public and active service members
believe the policy should be overturned and that gay and lesbian
Americans should be allowed to serve openly in the military.
Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.