A federal judge in California Thursday declared the U.S. military policy banning openly gay service members "unconstitutional," the Los Angeles Times reported.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy -- known as "don't ask, don't tell" -- violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men.
She plans to issue an injunction barring the enforcement of the policy by the U.S. government at the conclusion of a two-week trial in Riverside, Calif. -- however the Department of Justice will have an opportunity to appeal the decision.
The Senate is expected to possibly repeal the policy when it takes up the defense appropriations bill next month.
President Barack Obama called for a repeal of the law in his State of the Union address earlier this year.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was enacted under former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and has been a political lightning rod since its implementation.
The House voted in May to repeal the controversial policy, 234 to 194.