The federal court challenge of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will include testimony from former Columbia resident Alexander Nicholson, an Army linguist who was kicked out of under the policy that bars gay servicemembers from serving openly.

The City Paper spoke with Nicholson and his partner, Jarrod Chlapowski, in 2009. The two helped to create Servicemembers United, a group advocating for the policy’s repeal.

Nicholson is testifying in the case brought by Log Cabin Republicans in U.S. District Court in California.

“I am especially honored to be the lead veteran witness in this case and to have the opportunity to represent all gay and lesbian troops and veterans on the witness stand today at this very important and historic trial,” he said in a Servicemembers United press release. “This unnecessary and bigoted law has caused untold harm to each and every person who has served under it, and that, in turn, has harmed the quality and readiness of our armed forces.”