Spanish gay soldier alleges discrimination by military

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The first gay member of the military in Spain to get married under a law allowing same-sex marriages charged Wednesday he had been thrown out of the air force after suffering "harassment" by his superiors.

Alberto Linero Marchena, who is to be officially discharged from the air force on September 1 as his contract is not being renewed, said he intends to file a lawsuit against the defence ministry.

He told a news conference in the southern city of Seville he had received "sexual propositions" and "suffered harassment" from his superiors.

In 2008, he was placed on medical leave for several weeks following an accident.

But he charged that the armed forces refused to allow him to return to his job. It advised him to undergo a psychological evaluation, which declared him fit for service.

The defence ministry said it had not renewed his contract due to "unfavourable" evaluations.

Marchena married his partner, Alberto Sanchez, who is also in the military, in September 2006 in the first such gay union in the Spanish armed forces.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero passed a law in 2005 to allow same-sex marriages.

Since then, thousands of gay marriages have been performed in the country.

But the measure has drawn the ire of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and a section of the conservative opposition Popular Party.

© 2010 AFP

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