Gays Challenge DADT Military Policy

Justin Peacock, a former Coast Guard member from Knoxville, Tenn., who is among the 12 plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the Pentagon’s policy toward homosexuality, was kicked out of the service after someone reported he was seen holding hands with another man, according to the AP.

“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.

 Lt. Col. Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, told the AP that officials have not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on it.

The Pentagon’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy is being challenged by 12 gays who have been separated from the military because of their homosexuality.

Deb Price of The Detroit News criticizes the ban commenting in an early April article that the ban “lets gay people serve if they succeed in remaining closeted, was essentially a fantasy-protection act: It allowed those straight soldiers who’d rather not admit that everyone lives and works in a diverse world to pretend that all of their comrades-in-arms are heterosexual.”

The 12 plan to file a federal lawsuit in Boston citing last year’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 1986 decision to uphold sodomy laws and gay sex as a crime.

Other courts have upheld the 11-year-old policy, but C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is advising the plaintiffs, said “We think the gay ban can no longer survive constitutionally,” according to the AP.

Price says that the military can no longer afford to waste human resources in the fight against terrorism.  Last year approximately 900 men and women were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation.  Among them were seven linguists specializing in Arabic. 

By April the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network had helped 24 linguists including those fluent in Farsi, Arabic and Korean; three languages native to Iran, Iraq and North Korea, who were under investigation for being gay.  Meanwhile, The General Accounting Office found that in 2001 the Army had a 68 percent shortage of Farsi translators and interpreters, a 50 percent shortage of Arabic experts and a 37 percent shortage of Korean experts.