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Judge Refuses Request to Halt Discharge Proceedings

February 10, 1993

SEATTLE (AP) _ A federal judge refused to order the Navy to halt discharge proceedings against a gay sailor who sought to suspend the hearings until President Clinton ends the military ban on homosexuals.

U.S. District Judge William Dwyer on Tuesday said there was ″no showing that irreparable harm will occur if the administrative hearing goes forward″ Wednesday as scheduled.

Dwyer ruled in a lawsuit filed Friday by Petty Officer Mark Philips, 22, an openly homosexual sailor who served on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.

Philips claims his constitutional rights would be violated if the Navy proceeds with its efforts to discharge him because he’s homosexual.

Philips’ lawyer, Jett Whitmer, said after the ruling that he will ask the judge to reconsider and perhaps require the Navy to allow Philips to remain on active duty.

Last month, Clinton temporarily suspended the formal discharge of homosexuals from the military and ordered that new recruits no longer be asked if they are homosexual. He ordered the Pentagon to produce a draft executive order by July 15 to formally end the ban.

In a compromise with opponents, Clinton agreed to allow discharge proceedings to continue for service members who have acknowledged their homosexuality, with final discharges suspended until a decision is made on the ban.

In the interim, those processed for discharge are to be placed on standby reserve, losing all pay, medical and dental benefits, and meal and housing privileges.

Philips, who has served four years in the Navy, was transferred from the USS Nimitz to Naval Station Puget Sound in Seattle after he disclosed his sexual orientation in November.

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