Lesbian soldier discharged after local cops out her

Posted on 15 Mar 2010 at 12:17pm

Jene Newsom was doing what the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy requires: keeping quiet about her sexual orientation and not telling anyone in the military that she was married to another woman.

But police in Rapid City, South Dakota told, and Newsom was dishonorably discharged.

From what I read, Rapid City police were looking for Newsome’s wife in connection with theft charges out of Fairbanks, Alaska. They went to talk to Newsome AT HER JOB at Ellsworth Air Force Base, and she refused to give them keys to her home. So they went to the house and in the process of peeking through windows, saw the marriage license from where Newsome and her partner were legally married in Iowa.

So then, the cops apparently felt compelled to call Newsome’s superiors at Ellsworth and tell them she was a lesbian — in a move that definitely seems like revenge against her because she did not cooperate. And Newsome received a dishonorable discharge.

From the U.K.’s Pink News:

“Police chief Steve Allender said that the marriage licence was relevant because it demonstrated the relationship between the two women.

“He said: ‘It’s an emotional issue and it’s unfortunate that Newsome lost her job, but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the licence, or not document the licence, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it.’”

But as blogger Rachel at AutoStraddle.com notes: “Really? Was the Air Force like calling them every day asking if they knew any gay people in the area who might be adequate to discharge? An ‘internal investigation’ assured no wrong was done, but this seems sketchy as fuck.”

Newsome and the South Dakota ACLU have filed a complaint against the police for violating Newsome’s privacy, and she is considering filing a lawsuit.

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