A federal judge in Texas says that a military draft for men only is unconstitutional.
In a late Friday afternoon ruling, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller said that the time for a debate on women's roles in the military is over and long passed. He denied a Department of Justice request for a stay of his decision.
An 11-member federal commission has been holding hearings on the future of the military draft and had expressed the hope the Texas court would hold off on a ruling until their report is released next year, but Judge Miller suggested it was unreasonable to wait that long. In a preliminary report, without indicating what they will ultimately decide, commission members suggested they would not be staying with the status-quo. They are considering doing away with the draft altogether. The military became all-volunteer in 1973.
The Supreme Court in 1981 upheld the male-only draft because at the time women weren't allowed in combat roles. The military removed those restrictions in 2015. Judge Miller said the Supreme Court's ruling on gender in their gay marriage decision has changed the equation.
The case was filed by a group called the National Coalition For Men, arguing the all-male draft wasn't fair. As the law stands now, all men have to register for selective service when they turn 18; they can be denied federal benefits and loans if they don't.
Women aren't permitted to register.