CALIFORNIA - (AP) - A federal judge has issued a worldwideinjunction stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell"policy, ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling Tuesdaywas widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited herwith getting accomplished what President Obama and Washingtonpolitics could not.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal.Legal experts say the department is under no legal obligation to doso and could let Phillips' ruling stand.

Phillips declared the law unconstitutional after a two-weektrial in federal court in Riverside. The case was brought about bythe pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans.