Well, this sort of came out of nowhere. U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips has issued a ruling
striking down the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which barred gays from serving openly in the armed forces. Phillips, deciding a case brought in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans, said the policy violated soldiers' First Amendment rights and had a harmful effect on military preparedness.
And get this, John Briggs/Bob Dornan/Alexandria Coronado: The judge is from Orange County.
Her ruling, which can be read here
, orders the military to stop firing service members for violations of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Update, Sept. 10 at 1:10 a.m.:
Here's a statement e-mailed to us a few hours ago by Choi, the highest profile pro-gays-in-the-military activist in Orange County, and maybe in the country:
I commend Judge Phillips, Alex Nicholson and the Log Cabin Republicans for their firm stance in defense of the First Amendment and their unwavering support of our national security. I demand President Obama and Senator Reid do the same, as our moral obligations compel us to strike down injustice and discrimination wherever it exists.
Judge Phillips has forthrightly exercised her unquestionable moral authority and lived up to her mandate to defend our constitution against a most vicious domestic enemy: discrimination against honest Americans. At a time when patriots suffer oppression for simply expressing truth and love, it is morally repugnant for any leader to delay justice based on self-interested timelines of political expediency.
I implore President Obama and his Justice Department to refuse lifting a finger, refrain from wasting any energy, statements, or money defending "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the court system. His constitutional and moral obligations are most compelling at this historic time.
For reference, Alex Nicholson is Servicemembers United's executive director, and was one of the parties in the lawsuit. Statements from him and others can be found here