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Federal court to hear challenge to military "Don't ask, don't tell" policy

[JURIST] A federal court in Boston will hear arguments Friday in the case of twelve members of the armed forces [JURIST report] who are challenging the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy [Wikipedia backgrounder; SLDN timeline, PDF] that requires them to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face discharge. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network [advocacy website] plans to argue that the policy enacted in 1993 is a violation of their constitutional right to privacy, free speech, and equal protection under the law. Read the SLDN press release. The Bush Administration will ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the nature of the military requires policies that are not accepted in civilian society and the policy "rationally furthers the government's interest in maintaining unit cohesion, reducing sexual tensions and promoting personal privacy." AP has more.

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