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The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a complaint Monday on behalf of 12 lesbian and gay veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The complaint, Cook v. Rumsfeld, challenges the constitutionality of the federal "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding lesbian, gay, and bisexual service personnel. The Boston-based case is an appeal that challenges an April decision by the district court dismissing a lawsuit to repeal "don't ask, don't tell"; it is also being handled by the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
The suit, which was originally filed in 2004, claims that the policy punishes gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members by denying them freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and equal protection. SLDN executive director Dixon Osburn called the policy unfair and contradictory.
"We should honor lesbian and gay patriots who serve our country, not deny them the very freedom and dignity they fight to protect," he said in a press release. "We are optimistic that the first circuit will grant these 12 men and women their much-deserved day in court." (The Advocate)