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Government Won't Appeal Gay Sailor's Reinstatement

November 29, 1994|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Clinton Administration said Monday it won't ask the Supreme Court to overturn the reinstatement of a sailor who declared his homosexuality on television.

Solicitor General Drew S. Days III, who represents the government in the Supreme Court, gave no explanation for his decision not to ask the justices to overturn a court order that reinstated Navy sonar operator Keith Meinhold, Justice Department spokesman Joe Krovisky said.

Meinhold revealed on national television in 1992 that he is gay. He was discharged under old military regulations that were replaced last year. The old Pentagon policy treated declarations of homosexuality as grounds for discharge.

Krovisky said Days made no decisions on 10 other old policy cases now in district or appellate courts.

An Administration official who declined to be identified by name said Days has no plans for appeals in any of those cases.

One such case, that of National Guard Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, a lesbian from Washington State, has been put on hold by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the hope that a final ruling in the Meinhold case will settle hers as well. Like Meinhold, she has been reinstated pending the outcome of the court battles.

In another old policy case, the government won last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That court ruled, 7 to 3, that the U.S. Naval Academy does not have to reinstate a top student, Joseph C. Steffan, who was forced to resign in 1987, six weeks from graduation, because he admitted he is gay.

The Administration would rather concentrate its attention on defending cases under the military's new "don't ask, don't tell" policy, an official said.

Under the new policy, service members who declare their homosexuality face discharge unless they can prove they won't engage in homosexual acts while in the service.

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