By Miriam Raftery
Former ECM intern Joseph Rocha gave key testimony at trial
September 10, 2010 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled yesterday that the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay soldiers from serving is unconstitutional, violating the First and Fifth Amendments. The judge found that the policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on military readiness by hindering recruitment in wartime and requiring discharge of service members who have critical skills or training.
"I am overjoyed that so many veterans and active duty members have been honored with justice. The decision upholds the constitution proving that no patriots blood is any less valuable in the defense of our nation." Joseph Rocha, an award-winning ECM journalism intern who testified at the trial, told ECM in an e-mail this evening. A former Navy dog handler, Rocha underwent 93 counts of abuse at the hands of an officer while serving in Bahrain.
Read our prior coverage and interview with Rocha on his ordeal. View his testimony (pagse 27-34) here.