Via Servicemembers United we learn that the Navy has dropped all charges against Stephen Jones, a sailor previously charged with failing to exhibit professional conduct because he fell asleep in the same bed as his friend while they were both watching a TV show. Mind you, there’s no regulation against falling asleep in the same bed as your friend. This seems pretty clearly an effort to get around the imminent repeal of DADT, and find another way to target servicemembers suspected of being gay. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and the Navy is dropping the charges. Likely because of the public outcry.
More from Servicemembers United:
Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, announced today that the Navy has decided to halt discharge proceedings against Petty Office Stephen Jones and retain him in the Navy. Jones, who is stationed at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, SC, was undergoing separation from the Navy for what his civilian lawyer and Servicemembers United strongly alleged were trumped up charges based on the command’s suspicion that Jones might be gay.
“The Navy undoubtedly did the right thing in reversing its decision to discharge Petty Officer Stephen Jones,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “We strongly suspected that his command was trying to find a round about 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.'”
This is very good. Coming on the heels of the news that the Navy is not discharging gay servicemember Derek Morado, and yesterday’s DADT hearing in the House in which the Joint Chiefs all agreed that so far DADT repeal implementation has been smooth sailing, it seems that the Obama administration is finally getting control of the situation, to their credit.
Having said that, this isn’t issue isn’t over. The military successfully screwed over another sailor with this incident, and no has fixed his situation. The sailor, Brian McGee, is the other guy who fell asleep in the same bed. He was coerced into accepting disciplinary proceedings that ended up docking his pay. He says his commanding officer specifically asked him if he was gay. That means this was a clear case of gay-baiting by the Navy.
While it’s great that the Navy has dropped the charges against Jones, when are they going to wipe clean the disciplinary hearings and restore the back pay of McGee? The only reason McGee has this stain on his record, and his paycheck, is because the Navy wrongly gay-baited him. This needs to be made right.