Margarethe "Grethe" Cammermeyer (born March 24, 1942) is a former colonel in the Washington National Guard and a gay rights activist. Born in Oslo, Norway, she became a United States citizen in 1960. In 1961 she joined the Army Student Nurse Program. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1963 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
She met her partner, Diane Divelbess, in 1988, when she was 46 — after she had ended a 15-year marriage to a man and had four sons.
In 1989, in response to a question during a routine security clearance interview, she disclosed that she is a lesbian. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy was not yet in effect at the time, and the National Guard began military discharge proceedings against her. On June 11, 1992, she was honorably discharged from the military. Cammermeyer filed a lawsuit against the decision in civil court. In June 1994, Judge Thomas Zilly of the federal district court in Seattle, Washington ruled her discharge, and the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military, unconstitutional. She returned to the National Guard and served as one of the few officially accepted openly gay or lesbian people in the military until her retirement in 1997.
A television movie about Cammermeyer's story, Serving in Silence, was made in 1995, with Glenn Close starring as Cammermeyer. Its content was largely taken from Cammermeyer's autobiography of the same name.
After retirement, Cammermeyer ran for the United States Congress in Washington's 2nd congressional district in 1998. She won the Democratic primary election, but lost in the general election to Republican Jack Metcalf.
In June 2010, she was appointed to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, a committee which is appointed by the United States Secretary of Defense and which reports to the United States Department of Defense.
In 2012, after same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington state, Cammermeyer and her partner Diane Divelbess became the first same-sex couple to get a license in Island County.
- Template:Cite press release
- Cohen, Cammermeyer Honored by Point Foundation
- Burnett, Justin. "Same-sex couples celebrate, wed on historic day in Island County".
- Official site
- Margerethe Cammermeyer on Matt and Andrej Koymansky's Famous GLTB page
- Margerethe Cammermeyer on glbtq encyclopedia
- Planet Out article
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