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📙 Gays and the military: Joseph Steffan versus the United States by Joseph Steffan, Marc Wolinsky, Kenneth S. Sherrill, Richard B. Cheney, United States District Court (DST), Kenneth S. Sherrill — free download


"Gays and the Military: Joseph Steffan versus the United States" is edited by Marc Wolinsky and Kenneth Sherrill. In their introduction the co-editors note that this anthology contains "the most significant portions of the court record from a case known as _Joseph C. Steffan_ v. _Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense_." They also note that Steffan was forced to resign from the United States Naval Academy after confirming that he was homosexual; the litigation began in 1988. Some of the documents included in this book are truly fascinating. A memorandum in support of summary judgment for Steffan reproduces some outrageous quotes opposing racial integration and equality in the naval services in the 1940s. Scholar John Boswell contributes an illuminating affidavit analyzing the history and use of the epithet "homo"; this piece is a response to the judge using this epithet in reference to Steffan. Robert Rankin, a professor of psychiatry with 21 years of Navy service, offers testimony demonstrating "that gay men and women have served in the United States armed services throughout their history and in every armed conflict with distinction and in substantial numbers." Another interesting affidavit documents other nations' inclusive policies towards gays in the military. Of particular importance is Judge Oliver Gasch's 1991 opinion. Along the way the contributors cite a number of relevant studies, as well as a number of similar cases: _ben-Shalom_, _Dronenburg_, _Watkins_, etc. The pieces cover many issues pertaining either directly or indirectly to Steffan's case: the issue of homosexual orientation being "separate and distinct from homosexual conduct"; the use of "aversion shock treatment" in attempts to change sexual orientation; democracy and the concept of the "tyranny of the majority"; anti-gay violence; the relevance of sodomy laws; etc. Some of the most interesting passages look at parallels between treatment of gays and treatment of other distinct groups; for example, a case debating whether the military can prohibit the wearing of yarmulkes is mentioned. This book incorporates a dense body of facts and citations. At times the language may strike some readers as mind-numbingly technical. But at its most striking the contributions touch deeply on the human issues at the core of this case. _Steffan_ is certainly an important case, and this book is an extremely valuable window into it. Also recommended: "Honor Bound," Steffan's own well-written memoir of his Academy days and legal fight.

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