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U.S. Isolated in Military Stance on Gays

by Andrea Szalanski

The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 20, Number 3.

Great Britain has joined other major world powers in ending discrimination against homosexuals who serve in the military, leaving the United States alone in its stance of retribution for sexuality.

The change in British policy follows a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which reviewed the cases of four service men and women who were dismissed because of their homosexuality. The Strasbourg, France, court operates like the Supreme Court in the U.S. on cases of human rights violations in Europe.

Ending the ban brings Britain into line with other North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries like France, Canada, and Germany and other major military powers such as Israel. And there are signs that the United States might soon follow suit.

President Clinton has recently acknowledged that his "Don't ask, don't tell, policy may be a failure, and has ordered a study of military bases around the country to determine whether gay service members are being harassed. The review was prompted by last summer's murder of a gay soldier.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Al Gore has called for a policy change that would allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

Andrea Szalanski is the Managing Editor of Free Inquiry magazine.

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