Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The High Price of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The High Price of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Article excerpt

Tommie Lee Watkins Jr. served as president of the class of 1998 at the U.S. Naval Academy. He served as battalion commander for his senior year. The Alabama native aspired to be a Navy pilot and a Methodist minister after his naval career was over. But when Watkins resigned from the academy in 1997 during his junior year rather than face discharge for being gay, his stellar credentials meant little to the military. The Pentagon ordered Watkins to repay nearly $67,000 in tuition to the academy.

"When it comes to gays in the military, the Pentagon has this incredible arrogance," said Watkins, 25, who was outed by a close friend at the academy. Military officials "think they can do whatever they want to you because nobody will stop them. To a large degree they are correct."

Indeed, after an investigation the board for corrections of Naval Records ruled that Watkins was the victim of "error and injustice" and should not be forced to repay the tuition. …

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