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JUSTICES SCRUTINIZE COLORADO AMENDMENT

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Several Supreme Court justices expressed doubts Tuesday about a 1992 Colorado constitutional amendment that bans all state and local laws giving homosexuals "special protection" against discrimination in such matters as housing and employment.

The amendment was thrown out by Colorado's highest court, which said it denied homosexuals an equal voice in government."I've never seen a statute like this," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told Colorado Solicitor General Timothy M. Tymkovich, who argued for reinstating the amendment.

"Here the class (of homosexuals) seems to be adopted for its own sake," Kennedy said.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wondered whether the amendment would allow public libraries to refuse to lend books to gays.

And Justice John Paul Stevens asked, "What is the rational basis for the people outside of Aspen telling the people in Aspen they cannot have this nondiscrimination provision?"

In other action Tuesday, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Shannon Faulkner, who waged a long legal battle to end The Citadel's 153-year ban on women before dropping out in August after less than a week as a cadet.

The court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal filed in Faulkner's behalf that argued The Citadel must admit females as cadets. The brief court order said the appeal was "dismissed as moot."

The court also rejected an attempt to substitute Faulkner with Nancy Mellette, another young woman who has voiced an interest in attending The Citadel.

But the justices took no action on a still-pending appeal by South Carolina that says the military school can remain all-male even without the separate state program for women begun this fall.

The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute are the nation's only all-male, state-supported military colleges.

The nation's highest court already has agreed to decide whether VMI may keep women out because Virginia created a separate "women's VMI."

In other actions Tuesday, the justices:

- In a 5-4 decision, reinstated the murder conviction of a Tacoma, Wash., man. The high court said a federal appeals court was wrong in ruling the conviction was tainted because prosecutors never disclosed that their star witness had flunked a lie-detector test.

- Left intact a lower court's ruling that said Cuban refugees being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay lack constitutional rights and could be returned forcibly to Cuba.

- Turned down an appeal by a man who says the rock group ZZ Top stole part of a song he wrote.