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A group of 14 retired military leaders has filed a brief with the first circuit court of appeals in Washington, D.C., in support of a lawsuit filed by military personnel dismissed under the armed services' antigay "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The case is being appealed after it was dismissed by a lower federal court in April, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement on Tuesday.
The brief, which was filed November 22, states that the group has "first-hand knowledge that numerous gay people serve in the armed forces with full awareness by their commands." The brief also argues that the policy wrongfully implies that openly gay service members detract from unit cohesion, and that militaries in other developed countries have had no significant problems from allowing gay members to serve.
C. Dixon Osburn, SLDN executive director, said in the press release that the debate over the ban is an important milestone. "In the past, courts have deferred to what they perceived as a policy preferred by military leaders to further military readiness. That has not been and is not now the case. 'Don't ask, don't tell' hurts our national security, as the leaders who signed on to this brief so eloquently argue." (The Advocate)