Judge Denies Administration Request To Put Injunction Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell On Hold

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips

Earlier tonight, California District Court Judge Virginia Phillips officially rejected the government’s request to stay her injunction against enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, arguing that the defendants “have not shown” “a likelihood they will suffer irreparable harm.” Phillips had issued her injunction last week, after ruling that the policy violated the due process clause and the First Amendment in September.

“[T]he injunction requires Defendants to cease investigating and discharging servicemembers pursuant to the Act. It does not affect Defendants’ ability to revise their policies and regulations nor to develop training and education programs, the only activities specifically mentioned in the Stanley Declaration,” Phillips wrote, referring to a memo from Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who said the injunction would create a burden for the military. Phillips similarly dismissed a Rolling Stone interview with President Obama, which the government also submitted, calling it “hearsay.”

“The public has an interest in military readiness, unit cohesion, and the preservation of fundamental constitutional rights,” she wrote. “While Defendants’ interests in preventing the status quo and enforcing its laws are important, these interests are outweighed by the compelling public interest of safeguarding fundamental constitutional rights.”

The Pentagon is complying by the orders of the injunction while it’s in effect and announced earlier today that it has issued new guidance instructing recruiters to accept gay and lesbian applicants. The Department of Justice is now expected to seek a stay on the injunction before the ninth circuit court of appeals.