Gay Arizona Lawmaker Faces Discharge From Army : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Sunday September 17 8:01 PM ET

Gay Arizona Lawmaker Faces Discharge From Army

hmm@hmm.hmm), September 17, 2000


Trying again...

Sunday September 17 8:01 PM ET

Gay Arizona Lawmaker Faces Discharge From Army


By Nigel Hunt

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A panel of three U.S. Army colonels recommended on Sunday that Arizona lawmaker and army reservist Steve May should be given an honorable discharge for publicly revealing he was gay.

May, a reserve lieutenant who trains soldiers to defend themselves against chemical attacks, was initially investigated after he made comments on the floor of the Arizona Legislature during a February 1999 hearing on a bill that would have prohibited government benefits for employees' gay partners.

The Army has a ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy toward gays and lesbians, which tolerates their service in uniform so long as they do not discuss their sexual orientation.

``We're going to appeal,'' said May, who is hoping the Army will decided to exercise a provision that would allow him to be retained for the ``good of the service'' despite his sexual orientation.

Army attorneys had sought a general discharge for May, but the panel, sitting in Los Alamitos a few miles south of Los Angeles, ruled that he should have an honorable discharge.

``That provides some solace but I am deeply disturbed by this vindictive and unfair prosecution. The investigation should never have begun,'' said Christopher Wolf, of attorneys Proskauer Rose, who represent May.

In many cases related to violations of the ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy, soldiers have been given dishonorable discharges, which result in loss of benefits and the ability to re-enlist.

Ted Bartimus, public affairs officer for the Army 63rd Regional Support Command, said the investigation was launched following several news articles saying May was homosexual.

``The government's position in these administrative proceedings has been that May violated the Department of Defense's homosexual policy which is based on public law,'' Bartimus said.

He said the panel's recommendation would be forwarded to Major General John Scott, commander of the 63rd Regional Support Command, which oversees Army reserve units in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Bartimus estimated it could be one to three months before any order was issued.

Wolf said there were opportunities to appeal before the decision was finalized and also sought the intervention of President Clinton.

``I think the White House should be aware of this and do what is necessary (to reverse the decision),'' Wolf said.

May said Congress needed to change the current policy on gays and lesbians in the military, noting the United States was the last NATO member that practiced mandatory discrimination.

``This (policy) is an old dinosaur that is an embarrassment to the nation,'' he said.

May has about seven months to run to complete his current Army commitment, but he said he had planned to continue to serve after the current term expired. He remains in service pending the outcome of appeals.

May serves with the 348th Transportation Company as a nuclear, biological and chemical officer, training soldiers in chemical defense.

Los Alamitos is the headquarters of the Army 63rd Regional Support Command which oversees his unit.

May, a Republican, represents the 26th district in the Arizona House of Representatives.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), September 17, 2000.

Poor Andy, life just isn't fair to his kind.

-- (life through teal @ colored. glasses), September 17, 2000.

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