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Lesbian and gay military vets appeal ruling on DADT

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has passed on word that the 12 gay and lesbian vets are continuing their challenge (Cook v. Rumsfeld) of the the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” filing a brief in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts.

“These twelve patriotic gay Americans continue their proud traditions of service to our country by fighting to topple ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. “The military’s gay ban is not only unfair, but it also contradicts many of the freedoms envisioned in our nation’s constitution. We should honor lesbian and gay patriots who serve our country, not deny them the very freedom and dignity they fight to protect. We are optimistic that the First Circuit will grant these twelve men and women their much-deserved day in court.”

…Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are:

* Former Navy Lieutenant Jenny Kopfstein. Kopfstein, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, patrolled the nation’s borders in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. LTJG Kopfstein’s command declined to discharge her for two years after learning she is a lesbian.
* Former Army Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez. Vasquez served nearly ten years as an Army paralegal and was one of the top recruiters in the Army. Vasquez was discharged after being outed by a fellow service member’s wife.
* Former Air Force Sergeant David Hall. Hall, who served for five years as an enlisted member of the U.S. Air Force before joining the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Alaska, was ranked first in his ROTC class. After serving in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Hall was fired when a fellow cadet and friend outed him to his command.

SLDN’s Frontlines blog has a statement from David Hall:

One of the questions I always get is why I decided to be a part of the lawsuit. My initial reason still holds true today: I deserve to be treated like any other American who wants to serve his or her country. I want to continue my family’s history of service by following in the footsteps of my grandfather, father, and stepfather. My grandfather served in the United States Army during WWII. My father and stepfather both retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) after 20+ years of service. I, too, had hoped to retire from the USAF but was denied the opportunity because of this law. With the brief filed yesterday—only possible with the hard work of SLDN and the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP—in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, I am one step closer to having our date in court so we can prove how harmful this horrible law is.

Go read the rest.

Good luck to all of you and thank you for serving your country and for choosing to be out and proud and for fighting this unjust law.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding