Navy Settles McVeigh Case

WASHINGTON, DC---June 12 , 1998---Timothy McVeigh, a target of the military's so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy, reached an out of court settlement in his case against the Navy. Under the settlement, among other things, the Navy not only provides McVeigh a retirement with full benefits, but it also agrees to forgo further challenges to a federal court ruling that was highly critical of the Navy's actions against McVeigh and of the military's policy banning gay men and lesbians.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a flawed policy implemented in a faulty manner based on the false premise that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to serve in the military," stated Task Force political director Rebecca Isaacs. "Timothy McVeigh's exemplary service and the harassment he experienced demonstrate the unfairness of this policy and the military's inability to implement it properly," she added.

The navy targeted McVeigh last year in an anti-gay witch-hunt, and America Online released information about his account to the Navy. McVeigh had an immaculate record of service but was nevertheless ordered dismissed on charges that he engaged in sodomy. McVeigh sued the Navy, and a federal judge later ruled that the Navy improperly obtained private information from America Online and that it violated the military's ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue'' policy. Last month McVeigh was promoted to master chief petty officer, the Navy's highest enlisted rank.

According to "From Wrongs to Rights", a report recently released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, there is strong evidence that the public has long been supportive of allowing lesbians and gay men to serve in the armed forces. This public opinion trend indicates this support, now well over 60 percent, will continue to increase over time.

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), discharges of gay men and lesbians have surged since the implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue." In 1997 there were 997 discharges under the policy, the highest level of discharges since 1988. For more information contact SLDN at 202/328-3244.

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