Defense: Marching Out of The Closet

Should gays be allowed to serve in America's armed forces? The Pentagon has ousted 1,000 of them since Desert Storm, but it is finding it harder than ever to argue that the answer is no.

For 13 years in the Army and Army Reserve, Captain Dusty Pruitt, an ordained minister, taught soldiers to defend themselves against chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Her expertise could have been vital in the war against Saddam Hussein. But during Operation Desert Storm, Pruitt was neither protecting nor ministering to soldiers in the Persian Gulf. Her battleground was the Ninth Circuit Court in California, where she was busy fighting to overturn the Army's 1986 decision to discharge her because she is a lesbian. "It's sad," she says, "that the military wastes time bothering people about what they do in their private...

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