Obituaries

Perkins Coie lawyer who fought 'don't ask, don't tell' dies in bike accident


A Perkins Coie associate who helped challenge the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has died in a bicycle accident.

Sher Kung, 31, died Friday morning when a truck making a left turn struck her as she was riding her bike to work in downtown Seattle, report the Seattle Times, KOMO News, KiroTV and Courthouse News Service. In a press release, Perkins Coie said Kung was “an exceptional lawyer whose commitment to pro bono service and the community were truly remarkable.”

Kung worked on intellectual property litigation and had an active pro bono practice, Perkins Coie said.

The site of the accident on Second Avenue is known to be dangerous, the Seattle Times says. The city was planning to install a new protected bike lane there in the coming days, according to KiroTV.

Kung was a member of the trial team that challenged the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed gays to serve in the military as long as they didn’t disclose their sexual preference. The plaintiff in the case, Margaret Witt, had been fired after the Air Force received a report that she was living with another woman. A federal appeals court had resurrected Witt’s lawsuit and said the policy would have to meet a more difficult heightened scrutiny standard. The Obama administration did not appeal the ruling and Congress repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2009.

Kung and her partner were planning a September 2015 wedding. The couple had a 7-month-old daughter.

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