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Capitol Hill hears more on gay ban in military

Rep. Lynn Woolsey introduced her gay son to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, hoping he will put a "real face" on homosexuality for lawmakers weighing the ban on gays in the military.

"I know when other members of the House of Representatives meet him it is going to be easier for them to support lifting the ban," the California Democrat told a news conference.

Woolsey, with her 30-year-old son, Michael, described her family's reaction two years ago upon learning of her son's homosexuality, her interpretation of family values and her strong belief in ending the ban.

The first-term lawmaker and other parents of gay men and women plan to lobby members of Congress this week on President Clinton's effort to lift the 50-year-old prohibition.

The Campaign for Military Service, an amalgam of groups working to end the ban, sponsored the news conference and announced plans to distribute to lawmakers 100,000 postcards collected during this year's gay rights march that call for an end to the ban.

The news conference marked the third time this year that a parent has talked about a gay child on Capitol Hill. Marine Col. Fred Peck, who supports the ban, discussed his gay son and how he feared for his life if he joined the military at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Weeks later, Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., revealed that his daughter is a homosexual during Senate debate on the nomination of Roberta Achtenberg, a lesbian, to a post in the Clinton administration.