Gay Air Force Officer Challenges DADT Policy

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach filed papers in Idaho federal court, requesting a temporary order blocking his possible discharge under the "don't ask, don't tell policy."

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August 12, 2010 /LGBT News/ Fehrenbach, a 19-year military member who has been decorated for his combat valor in Iraq, disclosed he was gay in 2008 as he defended himself against allegations investigated by the Boise Police Department that he raped another man. Fehrenbach said he had sex with the man, but it was consensual. Within three weeks, the sexual assault allegation was dismissed for lack of evidence, but the Air Force investigation into his sexuality continued.

Now Fehrenbach, 40, believes he is about to be discharged under the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell". He would be among the highest-ranking service members discharged under the policy.

Fehrenbach’s future is currently in the hands of the Secretary of the Air Force, but his lawyers hope the court will step in and uphold new “don’t ask” enforcement rules established by legal precedent and new regulations issued this year by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

“We hope they take the opportunity to follow the law and follow the new enforcement standards that they approved,” Fehrenbach said.

He said he hopes his case will help others facing open investigations, but ultimately he wants to be retained by the Air Force and continue to serve. "That’s all I’ve wanted to do these last 23 years is serve my country."

On Wednesday, Fehrenbach's lawyers filed papers in Boise, saying that a discharge would violate the airman's rights and cause him irreparable harm.

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