The ruling will be appealed of course, so “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is far from done. The district court injunction is unlikely to hold up in higher federal court, but the ruling will make waves among military leaders and in Washington.
The decision comes amid legislative efforts to overturn the policy. The House voted to end DADT earlier this year, but (like about half of legislation the House has passed) the Senate has yet to consider the issue. The Senate needs to take action soon, or the issue will get put off until after the midterm. It may even fall off the legislative calendar altogether in a crowded lame duck session. And DADT won’t get overturned after the midterms if the Republicans pick up 7-10 Senate seats as expected. If that’s the case, it’ll be even more interesting to watch the issue in the courts.