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Federal judge may rule on 'don't ask, don't tell'

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - The federal judge who halted the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays is holding a hearing Monday before she decides whether the policy can be enforced while the government appeals.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said she'll hear from both sides Monday afternoon in her courtroom in Riverside before deciding whether to temporarily freeze the injunction she issued earlier this month that stopped enforcement of the 17-year-old policy.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by a gay rights group.

The military has promised to abide by the Phillips' injunction as long as it remains in place. But the Department of Justice last week asked Phillips to stay the ruling while it prepares an appeal, and it urged her to issue her decision by Monday.

Under the 1993 law, the military cannot inquire into service members' sexual orientation and punish them for it as long as they keep it to themselves.

President Barack Obama has said he wants the law repealed in Congress, rather than addressed in a court.

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