50 years in 50 weeks: 2007: Navy's Dunning retires

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday December 15, 2021
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Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive

U.S. Navy Commander Zoe Dunning retired during a formal ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda on June 2, 2007. Dunning served 22 years in the military and went through a two-year ordeal in the mid-1990s to remain in the Navy after publicly declaring herself a lesbian at a rally for Keith Meinhold, who was kicked out of the Navy after he outed himself on "ABC World News Tonight." A federal court later reinstated Meinhold, who returned to work and retired in 1996. Dunning fought her discharge and won, using a defense that her sexual orientation was not conduct but was status. After her retirement, Dunning was active in the effort to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the compromise policy that then-President Bill Clinton instituted after promising on the campaign trail to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces. DADT was repealed in Congress in December 2010 and officially ended in September 2011.

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