Washington, Oct 13 (ANI): A federal judge has ordered the United States military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" law that prohibits homosexuality in the armed services.
According to the New York Times, Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California issued an injunction banning enforcement of the law and ordered the military to immediately "suspend and discontinue" any investigations or proceedings to dismiss service members.
Judge Phillips said that the 17-year-old policy "infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members" and violates their rights of due process and freedom of speech.
While the decision is likely to be appealed by the government, the new ruling would apply to all United States service members anywhere in the world.
Last month, in a suit brought against the Pentagon by a gay and lesbian advocacy group, the Log Cabin Republicans, Phillips declared the policy violated the Fifth Amendment's ban on self-incrimination, but had delayed the injunction until Tuesday.
Christian Berle, the acting executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, hailed the injunction saying it would make the armed forces stronger.
"Lifting the ban on open service will allow our armed forces to recruit the best and brightest and not have their hands tied because of an individual's sexual orientation," he added.
The government can reportedly file an appeal against the judgement within 60 days.
The "don't ask, don't tell" law prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or are discovered engaging in homosexual activity, even off base. (ANI)