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Homosexual Sailor Recommended for Discharge

February 11, 1993

SEATTLE (AP) _ A sailor who sought to suspend formal action against homosexual service members until President Clinton lifts the military ban on homosexuals was recommended for discharge Wednesday.

An administrative naval board said that Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Philips should be discharged for being homosexual, his lawyer Jett Whitmer said.

Philips, 22, contended in a federal lawsuit that his rights to free speech and equal protection would be violated if the military proceeded with its efforts to discharge him.

U.S. District Judge William Dwyer refused Tuesday to halt discharge proceedings.

If Navy officials in Washington, D.C., approve the discharge recommendation, Philips could be removed from active duty by the end of the month, losing all pay, medical benefits, and meal and housing privileges.

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 gay.

In a compromise with opponents, Clinton agreed to allow discharge proceedings to continue for service members who have acknowledged they’re homosexual, with final discharges suspended until a decision is made on the ban in July. In the interim those processed for discharge would be put on standby reserve.

In Philips’ case, the judge ruled no evidence existed to indicate placing Philips on standby reserve would irreparably harm his military career.

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.

Philips said he was disappointed but not surprised by the Navy recommendation. The Navy, he said, operates under a double standard when it comes to enforcing rules governing sexual orientation and sexual misconduct.

″They are treating me to the letter of the law, but this is sure moving a lot faster than the Tailhook investigation went along,″ he said. ″The (Tailhook servicemen) committed sexual misconduct crimes and I haven’t.″

In the Tailhook scandal, 26 women claimed they were sexually assaulted when they were pushed through a gauntlet of drunken Marine and Navy aviators at a convention in Las Vegas in 1991.

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