From: (Peter J. Laska)
Subject: I need a lawyer
Date: 7 Aug 1995 08:47:39 -0700

In ba.motss (Tim DeBenedictis) said: 
>.... to deal with the Air Force.  I have no idea where to start looking.
>anyone reccommend legal assistance with experience in gay civil rights
>having to do with the military? 
>All suggestions appreciated, 
>-Tim DeBenedictis 
Oh boy.... 
Does this sound familiar!!!! 
What you need most is publicity!!! 
Now wait....don't cringe...I was hounded out of the Navy a few years back,
for being gay. 
They bounced me out in '87, then came back in '89 demanding that I repay
$25,000+ in training funds they had expended on my behalf.  When I told
them where to go, the Navy started hounding my 70 year old parents
(threatening to take their home) to get payment.  I had a lot of trouble
finding representation until I went public.  The ordeal dragged on until
about '91 when the Navy backed down in the face of unwelcome negative
After getting publicity, some legal help came forward, and the Navy
scurried and hid like frightened cockroaches when the lights are flicked
Kate Dyer, then of Congressman Gerry Studds' office was an incredible
source of help, I can't thank her enough.  Last I heard, she was attending
law school at Hastings (UC) in San Francisco.  I also received help from
the now defunct NGRA (National Gay Rights Advocates).  My lawyer there was
Paul DiDonato.  My co-counsel was Tamar Pachter at Farella Braun & Martel,
a San Francisco law firm. 
Most of the people I worked with from '87-'91, Paul, Kate, Tamar, and the
Gay-Military headline makers at the time, Keith Meinhold, Jim Holobaugh,
David Carney, Robb Bettiker,  Joseph Steffan and others, have all since
moved on with their lives and put hassles with the military behind them.  I
for one, became thoroughly digusted with the HRCF and Clinton in '92, and
have not kept current with the activisim.  I'm sure though with some
publicity, you'll be able to find some help. 
Also...almost all of the peolple I mentioned above and others (including
Zoe Dunning, Andy Holmes...) are on-line, and you can find them at AOL, and
other places.  I'm sure you'l hear from them if you don't remain silent. 
Remember, if this is a Military discrimination issue, you have the moral
highground.  Discriminiation is wrong.  Don't let your own doubts or
worries weaken your resolve.  Be strong, and remember, the military knows
its' policy is unconstitutional and cannot last.  They fear bad publicity;
it is your strongest weapon. 
Good luck.... 
----Peter Laska
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