An Army lieutenant colonel found to be gay was discharged from the Army last week under “other than honorable” conditions--one week shy of his 20-year active-duty career mark and without the pension and health benefits that would have accompanied voluntary retirement.
For nearly two decades while moving up Army ranks, Steve Loomis kept his homosexuality a private matter. But after a fellow soldier burned Loomis’ off-base house a year ago, a fire marshal discovered a videotape showing Loomis having sex with three other men and passed the information to Army officials.
Gay rights activists have seized on the case as the latest example of what they say is unjust and discriminatory prosecution of homosexuals by the military establishment. They insist the Army was wrong to act on evidence obtained accidentally as a result of the fire and argue that Loomis should have been given at least the opportunity to retire quietly, given his commendable service record.
Wounded in the Vietnam War, where he earned two Bronze Stars, Loomis left active duty after the war, then rejoined in the early 1980s. He received high marks for his job performance and had been selected for promotion to full colonel.