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Lesbian Sergeant Discharged After Being Outed by Police

Lesbian Sergeant Discharged After Being Outed by Police

Lesbian Jene Newsome, who played by the rules of "don't ask, don't tell" as an Air Force sergeant, is suing a South Dakota police department for outing her. Newsome, 28, was honorably discharged after police officers found a marriage license in her home and reported to the military that she was a lesbian. Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the western South Dakota police department, claiming the officers violated her privacy.

Lesbian Jene Newsome, who played by the rules of "don't ask, don't tell" as an Air Force sergeant, is suing a South Dakota police department for outing her.

Newsome, 28, was honorably discharged after police officers in Rapid City, S.D., found a marriage license in her home and reported to the military that she was a lesbian.

According to the AP, Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the western South Dakota police department, claiming the officers violated her privacy when they informed the military about her sexual orientation.

"I played by 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Newsome told the AP.

"I just don't agree with what the Rapid City police department did. ... They violated a lot of internal policies on their end, and I feel like my privacy was violated."

Police say Newsome, an aircraft armament system craftsman who spent nine years in the Air Force, was not cooperative when they showed up at her home in November with an arrest warrant for her partner, who was wanted on theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa.

After spotting an Iowa marriage license on Newsom's kitchen table through a window of her home, police officials alerted the base.

"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 license, or not document the license, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it," police Chief Steve Allender told the AP Saturday. "It was a part of the case, part of the report and the Air Force was privileged to the information."

Newsome said she'd been looking forward to the time when the military would alter its policies regarding gays and lesbians in the military. But that change didn't come in time to save her career.

"I felt like it was getting close," she said. "I was really hopeful."

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