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ACLU joins Tea Party Marine lawsuit vs. Pentagon

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering

Tea Party Marine Gary Stein filed a lawsuit yesterday against his military superiors and the Department of Defense to block his military discharge proceedings.

After a Marine Times article featured Stein in an article about anti-Obama Marines on March 21, he was notified that day by his commanding officer that he was facing an "other than honorable" discharge from the Marines for his political activity on Facebook. Stein started a Armed Forces Tea Party page on Facebook in 2010 and drew attention after he stated that he wouldn't follow "illegal orders" from President Obama.

According to the lawsuit documents filed on Tuesday, Stein's lawyers argue that his activity on Facebook falls under his First Amendment rights as a private citizen of the United States. The lawsuit also claims that Stein's authorities did not provide Stein with a basis for separation, failed to issue appropriate documents, and didn't attempt to rehabilitate Stein.

The lawsuit was filed by Stein's lawyers yesterday with counsel from OathKeepers, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Untied States Justice Foundation.

"I do respect the President of the United States Barack Obama but I stand firm in my belief that has an American citizen first and foremost I have the right to state my views in a public forum as long it is not on behalf of the Military," Stein clarified in a message to supporters on his Facebook page in March. "The first amendment is not something that I lost when I swore my oath of enlistment. I swore an oath first and foremost to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America."

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