By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 13 2010 7:05 PM ET
A former Air Force sergeant living in Rapid City, S.D., who was discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" has filed a lawsuit against local police after officers told military officials that she was a lesbian and had married her spouse in neighboring Iowa.
Jene Newsome was discharged in January after police officers, who had entered Newsome's home with a warrant for the arrest of her wife on theft charges, found Newsome's Iowa marriage license in the residence. Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union have since filed suit against the western South Dakota police department, claiming the disclosure was a violation of Newsome's privacy.
"I played by 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Newsome told the Associated Press. "I just don't agree with what the Rapid City police department did. ... They violated a lot of internal policies on their end, and I feel like my privacy was violated."
Responding to Newsome's suit, Rapid City police chief Steven Allender said in a statement that the officers were well within their authority to inform military officials of the marriage certificate.
"It's an emotional issue, and it's unfortunate that Newsome lost her job," Allender said, "but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license or not document the license or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it."