The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has again stalled the promotion of Army major general Robert T. Clark, who was the commander at Fort Campbell, Ky., in 1999, when Pfc. Barry Winchell was murdered in an antigay attack, The New York Times reports. Clark's nomination for lieutenant general had expired last year when Congress failed to act on it. Then in March, President Bush renominated him. The Senate committee had been expected to vote on Clark's promotion as early as next week.
The latest delay came after Winchell's parents met with Sen. John Warner, the Virginia Republican who chairs the Armed Services Committee. Winchell's family and others who oppose Clark's promotion say that Barry Winchell's murder was an antigay hate crime and that Clark failed to appropriately deal with the climate of homophobia that existed at Fort Campbell. The Winchells also met with Clark last week. "He doesn't have the command authority or responsibility," said Winchell's mother, Patricia Kutteles. "The promotion would be another obstacle in the way of everything we have tried to do to honor our son."
Clark issued a statement Friday saying it would be "inappropriate to make any comment during the confirmation process."