The Sound of Swinging Upward
A piece of good news going into the weekend:
A federal court in Riverside, California, ruled Thursday that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — which bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly — is unconstitutional.
“Plaintiff has demonstrated it is entitled to the relief sought on behalf of its members, a judicial declaration that the don’t ask, don’t tell act violates the Fifth and First Amendments, and a permanent injunction barring its enforcement,” concluded U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, a 1999 Clinton appointee.
The 85-page ruling came in a case filed by the group Log Cabin Republicans against the government and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.
“The act discriminates based on the content of the speech being regulated,” Phillips wrote. “It distinguishes between speech regarding sexual orientation, and inevitably, family relationships and daily activities, by and about gay and lesbian servicemembers, which is banned, and speech on those subjects by and about heterosexual servicemembers, which is permitted.”
But, she noted, “the sweeping reach of the restrictions on speech in the don’t ask, don’t tell act is far broader than is reasonably necessary to protect the substantial government interest at stake here.”
From CNN. Not unlike the Prop 8 overturn, there’s still a long road to travel on this. And again, it’s both a potentially good and very precarious thing that the ruling was made in federal court. On the one hand there’s nowhere to go but up; on the other, the stakes are high that if either case loses, it loses hard. Still, it’s hard not to feel hopeful.