October 8, 2007

Palm Center Statement On The Death Of Specialist Ciara Durkin

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a research institute at the University of California, issued a statement following reports of the death of National Guard Specialist Ciara Durkin, a lesbian service member from Massachusetts who was found dead in Afghanistan two weeks ago.

“While the facts in this case await investigation, we are concerned about the ways in which the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy could obstruct military investigators’ ability to obtain a full account of the circumstances of a gay or lesbian service member’s death. Any of Durkin’s friends or colleagues who are gay or lesbian, and who might possess relevant information, could hesitate to step forward out of fear that they, themselves, or their peers could be investigated under the current policy.”