Government Still Mulling Ruling On `Don't Ask, Don't Tell' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Government Still Mulling Ruling On `Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Justice Department says it's reviewing a federal judge's finding that "don't ask, don't tell" is unconstitutional.

The policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled yesterday that the prohibition on openly gay service members violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of gays and lesbians.

She plans to issue an order halting the policy, but is giving the federal government a week to respond.

Government lawyers say the judge lacks the authority to issue a nationwide injunction. The Justice Department hasn't said whether it plans to appeal.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both favor repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But they have said they would prefer that the change wait until the military completes its review of the issue. That's expected in December.

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