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A federal judge ruled today that the Clinton Administration's "don't ask, don't tell" policy discriminates againstgays in the militaryand violates their Constitutional free speech rights. Judge Eugene Nickerson, who ruled in New York, heard a case brought by six gay military personnel who challenged the policy that discharges service members who reveal their homosexuality or engage in homosexual acts. The Justice Department plans to appeal. Nickerson said the 1993 compromise on Clinton's pledge to end discrimination against military gays induces them to lie. The Administration argued that homosexuals may damage "unit cohesion."TIME Defense correspondent Mark Thompsonsays the ruling is likely to be overturned. "The higher you go in the federal judiciary, the more deference the jurists tend to give the military," says Thompson.