- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) In the past 19 months, Army Capt. David Donovan has made four resignation requests based, he says, on the fact that he is bisexual.
Army officials have not only refused him, but have questioned the credibility of the 17-year Army veteran stationed at Fort Bragg.
"I'm just trying to do what I believe is right," Capt. Donovan said.
Capt. Donovan, who is married, says he engaged in homosexual conduct in the past but has refused to provide specifics for fear the Army might charge him with a crime. Homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under military law.
An Army spokeswoman said an admission of such activity generally is enough to allow a soldier to resign, but such decisions usually are left up to the local commander. In this case, the Fort Bragg commander recommended Capt. Donovan for an "other than honorable" discharge, but the Army has rejected the recommendation.
Capt. Donovan's refusal to back up his admission with details may be at the crux of his problem.
"Soldiers who make admissions may be asked to provide supporting information if the credibility is in question," said Martha Rudd, an Army spokeswoman. "And if there is, the request to separate from the military may be denied."
His commanding officer at the time of his first resignation request was even more blunt.
"There is insufficient evidence that any homosexual conduct has occurred," wrote Maj. Gen. Raymond Barrett Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson, S.C. "The resignation does not disclose a homosexual act … and does not contain a statement of homosexual conduct."
The dispute is unusual because it comes at a time when military discharges for homosexuality are at their highest point since 1987 1,250 last year, according to a study by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for homosexuals in the military. Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the group, said cases like Capt. Donovan's are unusual.
Capt. Donovan was 17 when he left Billings, Mont., to join the Army in January 1983. He married and had a son, now 18, who lives with Capt. Donovan's second wife and her two children in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In August 2000, when he was in graduate school in Fort Lauderdale, Capt. Donovan made his first request for permission to resign "for homosexual conduct in lieu of a general court-martial," and offered to repay the Army for his education.
Three months later, his request still pending, he was transferred to Fort Bragg. He didn't bring his family to North Carolina because he thought the military would summarily approve his dismissal and he could return to Florida.
On the advice of the judge advocate general's office at Fort Bragg, Capt. Donovan's second request said he was bisexual within the meaning of the military definition. His third request included a letter from a close friend in Florida and a psychiatrist, each saying Capt. Donovan was bisexual.
As to his fourth request, Miss Rudd said, the Army usually rejects requests for unqualified resignations if the soldier has an active-duty service obligation, which Capt. Donovan owes through October 2005 because the Army has paid for him to go to graduate school.


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