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Tears flow as gay military veterans tell judge about ruined careers, lives


OTTAWA – Gay military veterans are telling a federal judge they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality.

Sobbing can be heard from onlookers as a steady stream of men and women take turns at a microphone to lament how being gay or lesbian made them enemies of their own country.

A Federal Court judge is holding a special hearing today on whether to approve a landmark deal to financially compensate members of the military and other agencies who were investigated and sometimes fired because of their sexual orientation.

An agreement in principle in the court action was drafted last November, just days before the government delivered a sweeping apology for decades of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

The final settlement, subject to Federal Court go-ahead, includes at least $50 million and up to $110 million in total compensation, with eligible individuals each expected to receive between $5,000 and $175,000.

The discriminatory policies that often ruined careers and lives had their roots in federal efforts that began as early as the 1940s to delve into the personal lives of people who were considered security risks.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Canadian Press