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State Guard Ordered to Open Ranks to Gays

<i> Reuters</i>

A California judge has ruled against the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military and ordered the California National Guard to open its ranks to homosexuals.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia, in a ruling made late Monday but not publicized until Tuesday, said California’s National Guard was violating the state constitutional rights of gays, lesbians and bisexuals by banning them from service.

“This is a total victory for the gay, lesbian and bisexual community,” said Lt. Andrew Holmes, the gay National Guard officer who brought the suit after he was discharged in 1995 for declaring his homosexuality.

Garcia’s order said the Equal Protection Clause of the state Constitution prohibits the state National Guard from barring members who had been discharged from federal military service under the so-called “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

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Specifically, he ordered the guard to stop treating such federal discharges as “for cause” terminations--a policy that equates dismissals for sexual orientation with those for criminal behavior.


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