U.S. judge rules military gay policy unconstitutional

12:57, September 10, 2010      

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A federal judge in Riverside, Southern California, ruled Thursday the U.S. military's policy on homosexuals unconstitutional, and vowed to issue an order soon to suspend the policy.

Contrary to what supporters have argued, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy did not preserve military readiness, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips wrote in her ruling, adding that the approach in fact had a "direct and deleterious effect" on the military.

The move followed a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May which asks the Pentagon to kill the policy if an ongoing study finds the military can adapt to the change without harming defense readiness.

The Department of Justice, however, has been a defender of the policy throughout a two-week trial in the U.S. District Court in Riverside, and it still has an opportunity to appeal Thursday's court ruling.

The policy, adopted in 1993, bans servicemen from talking about gay and lesbian topics, making it a taboo for servicemen to identify openly their sexual orientations. More than 13,000 military personnel have been forced to leave the armed forces for disclosing homosexual orientations.

Under current President Barrack Obama, a long-time critic of the policy, the Pentagon has formed a task force to look into the issue and said it may come up with a solution in a year's time.

Thursday's ruling was widely seen as a sign that the debate on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been intensified and urgency has been added for Obama and the Senate to act more quickly on the issue.

Source: Xinhua


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