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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2010
6:35 PM

CONTACT: EQCA

Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
PHONE: (916) 284-9187
EMAIL: vaishalee@eqca.org

Equality California Praises Federal Court “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” Injunction

SACRAMENTO - October 12 - 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.

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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.


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