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US marines on parade
US marines on parade
Image: Miguel Alvarez/AP/Press Association Images

Banning the ban: US must let gay people serve in military, says court

A panel of judges has ruled the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban on open homosexuality must end immediately.
Jul 7th 2011, 3:01 PM 345 10

A COURT IN the US has ordered an immediate end to the country’s long-standing ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

The controversial policy – known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ because gay people are allowed to join as long as they keep their sexuality hidden – was repealed by Congress last year. However the ban, which was instituted in 1993, remained in force because military chiefs are still drafting new rules.

Yesterday three judges at a San Francisco court ruled that the ban must end immediately, saying that it was unconstitutional to treat gay people differently, the BBC reports. The decision came in an appeal case brought by the equality campaigners Log Cabin Republicans.

“Finally, people who wish to serve our country are going to be allowed to do so without regard to their sexual orientation,” Dan Woods, lawyer for the group, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

A gay officer serving in the Air Force also welcomed the move. Speaking anonymously to the Seattle Times, he said: “As the news goes out over the wire, troops will see again, as they did last fall, that DADT is dead.”

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Michael Freeman

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