Pattaya Daily News

13 October 2010 :: 17:10:46 pm 43892

US Courts Overturn Ban on Openly Gay Military Personnel

A US District judge has ordered a nationwide halt to the enforcement of the country’s controversial ban on openly gay military personnel this week.
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United States, the 13th of October 2010: US District Judge Virginia Phillips last month ruled that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the US armed forces was unconstitutional. Under the policy, gay people can serve in the military but face expulsion if their sexuality is discovered.

Just one of a number of high ranking US politicians and military personnel in support of the decision, President Barack Obama applauded the courts decision after a legislative attempt to overturn the controversial law failed in the Senate last month.

The lawsuit was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, a pro-gay Republican group, on behalf of the openly gay military personnel who had already been discharged over the policy, established by the Clinton government in 1993.

The District Judges ruling means that any proceedings under way involving active US service members anywhere in the world must be discontinued, anyone who is in the process of being discharged from service will consequently receive a reprieve.

Judge Phillips decision pre-empts the outcome of an ongoing Pentagon inquiry into the effect of repealing the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” That report is not due to be released until December, although President Obama had previously commented that he would like to see an end to the ban.

In another prior decision, made by a Federal Court judge in Washington State last month, the ban was also ruled unconstitutional and an order was given for the immediate reinstatement of a US Air Force nurse, sacked over the laws.

Obama also expressed his opinion that it should been a decision by Congress, not the courts, which determined rulings on military policy. Obama by maintaining this stance risks alienating a strong support base which he had with gay rights activists in the run-up to next months mid-term elections. The US Department of Justice has 60-days to appeal the decision.

Supporters of the ban say allowing gay people to serve openly in the US military would lower troop morale and hinder military readiness. Government attorneys objected to an immediate, nationwide injunction, arguing it might harm military operations during wartime.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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