Luiza Fritz, lesbian soldier, mulls legal action to rejoin military after Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal
This week marked the official end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the U.S. military so long as command didn't learn about their sexuality. Luiza Fritz, who was discharged in 2008 for being a lesbian, would like to continue her service, and she may take legal action to make it happen even though the military is currently garnishing her wages after kicking her out.
"I served about thirteen-and-a-half years in the Iowa National Guard as an MP," Fritz says. "I was an E7 platoon sergeant in charge of about forty guys," and during her time in uniform, "all my evaluation reports were rated outstanding or above outstanding." Moreover, Fritz became comfortable enough with her fellow soldiers that she was able to be fairly open about her relationship with her wife, Sarah. "I would frequently bring her to family functions having to do with the unit, and nobody gave me too much grief about it," she notes.
Things changed in February 2008, when her unit was sent to Iraq for the second time. "They deployed us too early, and they didn't have a job for us," she recalls. "So they split up our unit by platoons, and I was reassigned to a unit from Oklahoma that was doing detainee operations -- running a prison. And that took me out from under the umbrella" of the Iowa National Guard, "and opened me up to anyone and everyone who wanted to find a reason to get rid of me."
Luiza and Sarah.
Before long, Fritz came into conflict with some of the Oklahoma troops, who "didn't follow policy as well as I'd like. We butted heads, and I felt they didn't care for me, because I was an opinionated female who was strong and had a lot of rank. Apparently, I intimidated people."
This friction led to an investigation of Fritz. Just last night, she learned of its origins from another soldier, and she was shocked to discover that the person who spurred the inquiry was one of the Iowa soldiers. However, she was told the man in question, now retired from the military, was "swayed in some way by individuals in the Oklahoma unit. They basically had him go around behind my back and try to get statements from other soldiers in my platoon against me."
Evidence wasn't tough to find. "Sarah and I had gotten our domestic partnership in Denver prior to my deploying," she says. "So that being a matter of public record, it violated the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy by way of what they call 'attempted marriage' -- that's the technical phrase for it."