Dutch gay group wants to sue US general
A new Dutch gay group called Pink Army has said it wants to sue a US general who blamed the Srebrenica massacre on gay soldiers in the Dutch army.
Former NATO commander and senior Marine Gen John Sheehan, now retired, told a Senate hearing last week that Dutch military leaders told him poor morale from allowing openly gay soldiers had contributed to the 1995 massacre.
Dutch leaders angrily refuted his claims, with Dutch defence ministry spokesman Roger van de Wetering calling them “complete nonsense”.
Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the remarks were “disgraceful”.
Pink Army, which is a small group of gay former soldiers, hopes to raise enough funds and support to bring a class action lawsuit in California against Gen Sheehan for slander and defamation.
They want to force him to publicly retract the statements and possibly attend a sensitivity course.
Pink Army founder Peter Schouten said: “What happens is larger than the pain this slander caused Dutch gay and heterosexual soldiers.
‘Sheehan’s comment dishonours and cheapens the sacrifice that brave gay men and women have made in military service to the Netherlands.
“They are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice every day and this should not be smeared with such a lie.”
He added: “There is also the fact that the gay rights movement in the US is at a fragile juncture and there are far too many people who might believe this nonsense. Gay rights are human rights and therefore a matter of civility.”