The U.S. Army was prepared to discharge a decorated combat helicopter pilot this week after he stopped two lesbian officers from kissing on a dance floor during a formal ball.
The April, 2012, event was held to celebrate the unit’s return from combat duties in Afghanistan, where the aviation task force commanded by Lt. Col. Christopher Downey had earned multiple unit citations.
When Downey moved to stop the inappropriate display of affection, which included “prolonged French kissing, buttocks grabbing and disrobing of Army jackets,” he pushed down a camera held by a solider who was filming the two. The camera hit the soldier’s nose, but the solider later testified that he was not hurt and did not believe that Downey intended to harm him, according to The Washington Times.
Nonetheless, Downey, who has earned three Bronze Stars and seven Air Medals during his 24-year military career, was convicted of assaulting the soldier.
He was also convicted of violating the 2011 Obama administration directive allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. But Downey’s attorney said the pilot was only enforcing an Army rule against public displays of affection while in uniform on post.
One of the women involved in the incident, who has since married and divorced the other, complained that she and her then-girlfriend had been discriminated against at the ball.
Speaking to investigators, a warrant officer compared the action of the two officers to “a scene from a spring break party,” The Times reported.
“It’s political correctness run wild,” Downey’s attorney, Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., told The Times. “Military rules do not apply to lesbian officers because of political correctness.”
Thompson has filed suit against the Army seeking to overturn the conviction and have Downey reinstated to the promotion list.
A Pentagon spokesman told the Times that the Army does not comment on pending litigation.
“Lt. Col. Downey gave his all to the Army and to the country he loves, yet the Army he so loyally served threw him under the bus merely to avoid negative press from the homosexual community,” Thompson said.
Watch a short report from The Washington Times here:
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