President Obama pledged during his presidential campaign to end the military’s ban on gays serving openly, otherwise known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The president has been in office for over a hundred days and the armed forces continue to fire gays and lesbians who violate the military’s policy on serving openly as a homosexual.
Lt. Dan Choi of the New York National Guard is an Iraq War veteran and a West Point graduate. He also happens to speak fluent Arabic. Choi received a letter of discharge from the Army for “homosexual conduct.” His firing comes after he came out in March along with 37 other West Point graduates in a group called Knights Out.
Lt. Choi joined Carol Costello on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday. He acknowledges he made the choice to publicly admit his sexuality.
“I publicly admitted who I was. I refused to lie and to hide my identity. And because of that, they said, it doesn't matter that you graduated from West Point. It doesn't matter that you're fluent in Arabic. It doesn't matter that you went to Iraq and that you want to deploy again. Pack your stuff and go home. You're fired.”
The Department of the Army's discharge letter to Choi states, "This is to inform you that sufficient basis exists to initiate action for withdrawal of Federal Recognition in the Army National Guard for moral or professional dereliction... You admitted publicly that you are a homosexual which constitutes homosexual conduct... Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard."
Choi says the letter was a “big slap in the face.”
“I raised my right hand and said I want to serve. My commander in chief is going to send 21,000 troops overseas. I want to be one of those… Basically, by me saying I am gay, they're saying that that ruined the good order and discipline of the entire New York Army National Guard, which is very ridiculous. From what I've seen, my unit has been very professional. I'm very proud of my unit. They respect all soldiers for what they can do as members of their team.”
The White House has not yet commented on Choi's case, but their website’s statement on the policy currently reads: “He [President Obama] supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security.”
This is a change from what the website previously stated in April, which was ”President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.”
Since the passage of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993, more than 12,500 men and women have been discharged from the military under the law.