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U.S. Supreme Court Stays “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, two former U.S. military service member’s claims that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy violated their right to free speech.

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy forbids military officials from asking about a service member’s sexual orientation, but allows those officers to discharge military service members who do disclose a gay or lesbian sexual orientation.

The two plaintiffs, National Guard 1st Lt. Andrew Holmes and Navy Lt. Richard Watson, both sued in federal courts after they were discharged from the military. Every federal court that heard the case ruled in favor of the government. Lawyers for the government charged that the military’s bar on homosexuals “serves the legitimate objectives of prohibiting homosexual acts in the military, promotion unit cohesion, protecting privacy interests and reducing sexual tension.”

Sources:

AP - January 11, 1999

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