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12 Gays Sue Over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Are queers going to be shipped to the front lines? If this challenge is successful, you betcha. (CBS):

The Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is being challenged by 12 homosexuals who have been separated from the military because of actions related to their sexual orientation.

They plan to file a federal lawsuit Monday in Boston that will cite last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that overturned state laws making gay sex a crime as ground for overturning the policy.

Other courts have upheld the 11-year-old policy, but C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is advising the plaintiffs, said those decisions came prior to the 2003 Supreme Court ruling.

“We think the gay ban can no longer survive constitutionally,” he said.

Justin Peacock, a former Coast Guard boatswain’s mate from Knoxville, Tenn., who is among the plaintiffs in the planned U.S. District Court lawsuit, was kicked out of the service after someone reported he was seen holding hands with another man.

“I would love to rejoin, but even if I don’t get back in at least I could say I tried to get the policy changed,” Peacock said.

Two other lawsuits challenging the policy have been filed since the high court’s reversal.

One was brought in California by the Log Cabin Republicans, a political organization for gays. Osburn said that group could face a difficult fight because it is not bringing its suit on behalf of a specific injured party. He also noted a federal appeals court in California has upheld “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but the appellate court for Boston has not ruled on the issue.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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