Federal Judge Stops 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
US has 60 days to appeal, may let ruling stand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 12, 2010 2:57 PM CDT
In this April 16 photo, military members stand together while handcuffed to the fence outside the White House during a protest for gay rights.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction today stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It ends the US military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. The Justice Department has 60 days to appeal, and legal experts say it is under no legal obligation to do so and could let the ruling stand. US District Court Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

"The order represents a complete and total victory for the Log Cabin Republicans and reaffirms the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians in the miltiary for fighting and dying for our country," said Dan Woods, an attorney for the Log Cabin group, a gay rights organization that filed the suit in 2004. Phillips declared the law unconstitutional after a two-week nonjury trial in federal court.