UK: Gay and Lesbian Soldiers Challenge Military Ban

The UK armed forces’ ban on gay and lesbian service personnel will be challenged today in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Former Navy Lieutenant Commander Dun Lustig-Prean, ex-naval rating John Beckett, one-time RAF chief Graeme Grade and ex-RAF nurse Jeannette Smith allege that the military’s ban on gays and lesbians has violated their rights under the European Treaty of Human Rights. This treaty protects individuals’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression and bars discriminatory, degrading, or inhumane treatment.

Lawyers for the Ministry of Defence have argued that allowing gay men and lesbian women into the armed forces would “undermine moral” and contend that the ban “is based on a practical assessment of the impact of homosexuals on military life.”

The four plaintiffs’ attempts to revoke the ban in British courts have thus far been successful, although a ruling for the plaintiffs issued by the European Court


BBC - May 18, 1999

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