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March 17th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Police in South Dakota out lesbian Air Force staff sergeant

(CNN) – She kept a secret for nine years. Jene Newsome didn't tell anyone in the Air Force she was a lesbian. Then, just as momentum was building to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Newsome was outed by a third party.

Her local police department in South Dakota outed her after they saw an Iowa marriage certificate in her home. Now discharged from the Air Force, Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a complaint against the Rapid City Police Department, saying the officers violated her privacy.

Meanwhile, the police department maintains they were following routine procedure. Jene Newsome joined us on Wednesday's American Morning via Skype to share her story.

Filed under: Gay Rights • Military
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. jen

    The police officers had no right to out her to anyone. It doesn't have anything what so ever to do with whatever they were investigating. I don't know if they originally used this knowledge as "leverage" against her to get her to do or say what they wanted, or if it was retaliation. Either way it is wrong.

    I also disagree with the "don't ask/don't tell policy" and any other policy that does not allow ANY American to protect our country short of actual health/mental issues.

    I have heard in the past that this policy is in place because of homophobes fearing gays or lesbians will hit on them, or even worse. I hate to break it to them but more sexual crimes are commited by heteroes than homosexuals.

    I also agree with xmln3x. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state. This country was supposedly founded on religious freedom. Where is our freedom if we cannot love who we love without fear of recrimination. We condemn other countries for their religious fanaticizm, yet in some ways we are doing exactly the same thing under the guise of morality.

    In my opinion, gay or straight should be something between the individual and their God, not them and the government/public. If you don't take religion out of government then you need to add that the government is commiting a very large sin in itself "Thou shalt not judge lest ye be judged".

    March 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  2. gdhand1504

    First off, she did not report her marriage status as being changed. That is not her “personal business” as you might think. Also, she did not help in the location of the person residing at her address on a felony warrant.
    The officers as always use the information in plain site to help in the apprehension of a known felon.
    Requesting help from the military to compel a service member to co-operate happens all the time. From what I have read, the co-operation with military law enforcement and local law enforcement should be abandoned because one service member did not disclose their marriage to a member of the same sex. How blind is the public to the fact that the service member harbored a known felon? The rules have not changed yet. The service member probably had a security clearance which the service member violated when she did not report her marriage status.
    I could go on with everything the service member violated but that was for her command to do.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  3. xmln3x

    First off, J Smith, your comment floored me! For you to label Jene Newsome as being an untrustworthy and non upstanding citizen is the exact reason why Jene should be so angry and stand up for herself. It's labels and judgement cast by individuals that put people in this particular and similar situations. Yes, her partner is to be held accountable for any charges that face her, but unless there is actual evidence that can tie Jene to those charges, I suggest you eat your words.

    Also when is it using the system to your own advantage when your just asking for the same rights to be applied as a whole? If thats the case apparently women were just using the system to their own advantage when they fought for the right to vote, hmm?

    It is not a crime to have a marriage license last time I checked. So why was the police officer alerting other branches of government? Had this particular police officer had no tie to the military, I'm guessing he wouldn't have run out an alerted military officials of this stumbled upon information. I think they have a term for this in our government, its called a rat.

    It's obvious this marvelous system we call United States Government and Military is broken, when it can strip the titles and achievements that someone has devoted their life to based on personal preferences. What business is it of the military's if an officer is GLBT, as long as they are committed to their role and it doesn't interfere with their abilities to do their job? Call me crazy but its not like..."Did you hear Jane's a Lesbian?" "Yea, I did. I heard she can't be devoted to her country, meet physical requirements, or stand in battle to defend her country because of it." That is total utter malarkey to base any of her qualifications for any role in her professional life off of her sexual orientation. I mean come on...if thats the case... perhaps the military should start narrowing down a list of OK'd things to do in bed with your partner. ex. Jim can receive oral copulation from his wife Carol, but by golly if Carol wants the favor returned... Jim's out! Lets see how many people we have just begging to sign up to defend this country then.

    The point being you wouldn't discharge a heterosexual officer because they are intimate with their partner, so why would you discharge a GLBT officer? Oh I get it... apparently if you choose to have a legal document declaring your love for someone of the same sex it's immoral right? By what standards? Religious? Gee and I thought church and state were supposed to be separate. My mistake.

    March 19, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  4. Jada Gee

    I think the don't ask; don't tell policy was violated by the police officers. If the police officers wouldn't have brought the issue forward, she would still be in the Air Force legally. Also, the criminal history of her partner has nothing to do with this issue as she was stellar performer in the Air Force. She is doing right in pushing the issue further as her rights were violated. She shouldn't just sit back and do nothing. Her actions aren't considered retaliation. She is seeking justice.

    March 18, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  5. ronvandm

    While she is not the first to be "discriminated" against the thing that bothers me is that if I understand this Sgt Newsome had been in the military 9yrs! 9 YEARS, of serving her country! On the surface this looks like nothing more than a police dept. saying "you didn't help us so now we are going to screw you". I hope she sues the heck out of this police dept.! And yes, I am a 23yr. Army Vet., and have known many gay & lesbian soldiers who served proudly.

    March 18, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  6. j. smith

    her cover was blown. no matter how you cut it the evidence was there and the policy is the policy. this complaint and news coverage is just retaliation in anger by a person who uses the system to the fullest for their own advantage. look at her "partners" criminal record and tell me you are dealing honest and upstanding citizens here. BS!

    March 18, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  7. Snuffy

    I had the pleasure to have served with Sgt Newsome. She is very proffesional and not once has her sexual preference has come into play. I know the small town cops in this area. They are always targeting military people and they don't seem military friendly. They love to stretch their power. I hope this is a call to Obama and America that our nation is punishing good people who served and continue to serve this nation proudly; yet America turns their back on these people based on their personal life. As mentioned before I had no clue about her personal life and there it should have remained. I pray for you Mrs. Newsom I hope America opens their eyes. So much for MEO and 0 tolerence for discrimination.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    This reminds me of the Pentagon's probe of the Maj. Hassan case of fratricide at Fort Hood. Of course Fort Hood Base Commander Cone is stating he had no clue that one of his own medical officers on his own staff was a strong Taliban sympathizer! BS!!!

    Meanwhile a lesbian Military whistle blower has alerted the News Media that SHE was outed by a mere public police dept. person that came to her home and reported her based on a Iowa marriage certificate they reportedly saw in her home!

    All the time with dozens of reports, claims of Muslim extremist rhetoric et. al. by Maj. Hassan's classmates and fellow Army officers and yet Fort Hood Base Commander Cone is stating he had no clue that Maj. Hassan had a radical agenda! BS!!!

    Fort Hood Base Commander Cone should be immediately relieved of his current duty pending a court marshal for gross neglect of his men and gross dereliction of duty which resulted in Maj. Hassan committing one of the largest case of fratricide in US Army history.

    March 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  9. Aunt Angela & Uncle Mike

    "Justice for Ne Ne"! Many of us here in Washington DC is supporting our neice and we thank everyone for your kind support on our "Justice for Ne Ne" Blogs and Forums. In our prayers – The Newsomes

    March 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm |