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September 15, 2014

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Female military members sue to serve in combat

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Ben Margot / AP

American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project senior staff attorney Ariela Migdal, right, gestures while speaking beside ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill, left, during a media conference Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in San Francisco. Plaintiffs also present for the conference, background L-R, U.S. Army reserve Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, U.S. Marine Corps reserve Capt. Zoe Bedell, and U.S. Marine Corps First Lt. Colleen Farrell. Several active-duty women military personnel have filed a federal lawsuit to demand combat action, requesting all branches of the military to remove the so-called combat exclusionary rule that bars women from fighting on the front lines. This suit, to be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, is believed to be the first involving active-duty military personnel.

SAN FRANCISCO — Four female military service members have filed a lawsuit challenging the Pentagon's ban on women serving in combat.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco Tuesday and is the second such federal challenge filed by female service members this year.

The latest demands the lifting of the military's so-called combat exclusionary policy that applies to all women.

The lawsuit alleges the ban on a single gender violates constitutional equal protection rights and unfairly blocks women from promotions and other advancements open to men in combat.

Further, the lawsuit alleges that women are already serving unofficially in combat units.

Two of the four women who filed the lawsuit have received Purple Heart medals for injuries sustained in Afghanistan. The women are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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  1. Our military is not a democracy and for good reason(s). And the military doesn't need to accommodate a tiny minority. Our military doesn't exist to be politically correct. The military puts one where s/he can serve best. Leave those decisions to our military professionals.

  2. As a retired Marine I have no problem with females serving in combat... as long as they meet and pass the same requirements as male Marines without exception. I can't speak for everyone but I have served in the Navy and with the Air Force enough to assume that the majority of all the services including the Coast Guard would say the same. The problem so far in my personal and professional experience has been the lowered standards that have been put in place to accommodate them on occasion. There are some jobs that require not only formal training and intellectual capacity but great physical strength and endurance beyond what many males can muster. In the past formal physical testing and evaluation beyond basic service requirements was not always required as those who didn't have the required ability could just be assigned to other duties and units without detrimental effects on the first one. As long as everything applies equally to all, I see no problem except one. There are times, infantry and special operations duties can be one, where periodic physical limitations have been and can be dangerous and even compromise the mission.