Charges Against Sailor Based On Old 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Law Dismissed
On April 8, 2011 At 4:44 pm
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NPR reported through the Associated Press that the Navy has decided against dismissing Chief Petty Officer Stephen Jones, a sailor who was found on a bed with a fellow soldier. The two allegedly fell asleep while watching Vampire Diaries on a computer, however one was under the covers and the other on top. The other sailor left when Jones' roommate returned to the room shortly after midnight.
Petty Office Jones contested his discharge for dereliction of duty and his attorney, Gary Myers along with an advocacy group for gay service members, have said the Navy wanted to get rid of him because he was suspected of being gay. However, Myers stated last month that there is no proof and Jones has made no admission of homosexuality or homosexual conduct.
“The Navy undoubtedly did the right thing in reversing its decision to discharge Petty Officer Jones,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, an organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans. “We strongly suspected that his command was trying to find a roundabout way to discharge Jones because it suspected him of being gay, and we simply were not willing to stand by and watch a new version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ emerge under the new label of ‘unprofessional conduct."
The Obama administration fought hard to overturn the 17-year-old policy which was signed into law under the Clinton administration. The law required gay soldiers to keep their homosexuality secret or risk being dismissed. Last December President Obama signed into law the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell.
Before the repeal can be fully implemented, however, training and certification are required, which is due to begin around March 1, and is slated to be finished by the end of summer.