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End 'don't ask, don't tell'

A federal judge's ruling last week that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gay members of the military is unconstitutional ought to finally put an end to this discriminatory policy. Judge Virginia Phillips said the government couldn't show that the policy was necessary for military readiness and unit cohesion. On the contrary, the policy has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services, she ruled. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also want to end the policy. So does most of the public. A Gallup poll in June 2009 found that 69 percent of Americans who were surveyed favored allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military, including 58 percent of conservatives and 60 percent of weekly churchgoers.