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Gay Servicemembers Seeking Help Hit New High

Guess it’s more important to discharge and discriminate against the gays in the military than to let them openly serve when they don’t have enough warm bodies. That’s a winning strategy. (

An organization that provides legal advice to gays and lesbians in the military said Tuesday that it received a record 1025 requests for assistance in 2004, up from 991 similar requests in 2003. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network also said that the number of gays being drummed out of the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” despite a shortage of troops in Iraq and Afganistan.

“Service members continue to report to SLDN that they face a hostile military environment rife with anti-gay harassment and discrimination,” said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn.

Even as their talents are more urgently needed than ever before, lesbian and gay service members face investigation, harassment and discharge. Their courageous service to our country, and not their sexual orientation, should be what matters.”

Among the cases that SLDN attorneys successfully fought in 2004 was a suit to save the retirement benefits of a 22-year Air Force war veteran who was ‘outed’ by two civilian women. Air Force Master Sergeant David Cooper was a veteran of the 1992 Persian Gulf War who faced losing his entire retirement benefits package. “Without SLDN’s help,” Cooper said, “everything I worked hard to achieve would have been stolen from me.”

SLDN attorneys also saved the careers of two service members who faced ‘outing’ by their family members and assisted a Jewish Naval Chaplain who faced investigation and discharge after being outed by a friend’s husband.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding