Nunn criticized for opposing end to gay military ban

January 29, 1993.

ATLANTA (UPI) -- A coalition of Georgia gay and civil rights groups Friday urged Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., to end his opposition to President Clinton's proposal to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Nunn, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has opposed lifting the ban and had proposed a six-month waiting period during which federal hearings would be held to consider the impact of removing the restrictions.

Representatives of several groups held a news conference on the steps of Atlanta's Richard B. Russell Federal Building and urged Georgians to flood the telephones in Nunn's office with calls protesting his stance.

``We are here today to call upon Sen. Sam Nunn to stop obstructing President Clinton's effort to end discrimination in the United States military,'' said Don George, the Atlanta field coordinator for the Human Rights Campaign Fund.

``Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter ruled the military ban against gays and lesbians to be unconstitutional,'' he said.

``Today, we ask Senator Nunn to abide with the court ruling and stop standing in the schoolhouse door and to work with President Clinton to end this 50-year-old injustice against lesbian and gay Americans,'' said George.

George said Nunn also had turned down repeated requests from his organization to meet with the senator to discuss the matter.

Wesley Temple Jr., chairman of the Georgia chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Veterans of America, said members of his organization are testimony to the fact that gays and lesbians have never caused problems in the military.

``We strongly condemn Senator Nunn's decision to side with the same bigots who opposed integration of African-Americans into the military in 1948,'' Temple said. ``Morale and discipline problems have not been experienced by 11 of the 16 NATO countries which do not have a ban on gay and lesbian personnel.

``So we ask Senator Nunn: Does he feel that American military commanders are not as capable of implementing the new policy of inclusion?'' he asked.

Larry Pellegrini, lobbyist for the Georgia chapter of the Gay Political Action Committee, also asked Nunn to abide by Hatter's ruling that declared the military ban unconstitutional.

``Republicans and Republican wannabes like Senator Nunn are still fighting an election that's three months over,'' he said. ``What 50 people in the line of succession died and made him president?''