A federal judge in Southern California has declared the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of gays and lesbians. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips came down strongly against the ban on openly gay service members, stating it has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the military. She said she will issue an injunction that will halt the government’s enforcement of the policy nationwide. The ruling — which comes as President Obama has pledged to repeal the policy — was sought by the Log Cabin Republicans, who filed the suit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “[D]efendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the act,” Phillips wrote in her statement.