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May 8th, 2009
09:51 AM ET

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Continues Under Obama

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.

Filed under: Military
soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. His Fault

    rules are rules. There are obvious homosexuals that serve in the Armed Forces and those who joined knew from the get go about the "Dont ask Dont tell" policy. Those who choose to make their sexual preference public must be discharged. He very much knew exactly what the reprocussions would be and he chose to ignore that. He is responsible for his own actions. We all make choices on a daily basis that can be negative or positive. He happened to make a choice that owuld negatively affect his career. He should have thought long and hard about his "coming out" before he did so. Plain and simple he knew and now he has to pay for it.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Vincent

    Change we can believe in all right... We need to start promoting the Modern Whig Party. Founded by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, they have in just a short time attracted about 30,000 members on a common-sense, rational platform of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and yes, bold social progression. Even with the socially liberal bent, they are attracting thousands of disenchanted Republicans.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  3. JV

    As someone in the military, I don't give a crap what someone does on their own time when it comes to relationships. Seriously, it's not against the law, so why should it be against military policy? If he/she has the skills, why not let them serve?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  4. Brian

    Being a 20 year Vet myself he got he deserved. It's interesting to find out if the pro-Choi sympathizers have ever served their country or others...or just their own me-me-me agenda.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  5. Ryan

    This man joined the service with full knowledge of our policies. It is his fault and no one else's that he was discharged. Men and women claiming to be homosexuals should not be allowed to serve for the sole reason that it would decrease military effectiveness. Do not feel pity or sorrow for this man. He man be a graduate of West Point, a veteran of Iraq, and what have you. But an educated man who commits a crime is still fully responsible for the consequences.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  6. Rob

    Unless you've been in the military then you can not understand the mindset/culture and how gays do or do not fit into it. Unfortunately, homosexuality is still a "big deal" to a lot of people. Whether it's because they hate the gay community, or because they support it fervently. For centuries, our country's military has kept gays from openly serving. We can't expect that issue to be corrected by a president signing an executive order or three. Changing a subculture like that takes time, diligence, education, compassion, and patience. President Clinton took a big first step in that process when he implemented Don't Ask Don't Tell. But it was just one step amongst many needed steps. America as a whole needs to be more accepting of homosexuality, and it will then filter into the military subculture. The mid-grade officers with open minds need to become generals. A million other steps, including people who sacrifice, speak out, and pay a price for their commitment to this cause such as Lt. Choi. I was proudly in the Army for four years. I can tell you that many of the people I served with would not have cared about a person's orientation, but there are still some who would. And those relative few would react violently in certain instances to homosexuality in the ranks. Homophobia is still there, and always will be. But before we can risk soldier's lives by allowing them to serve as openly gay, we have a lot of work to do. And it starts in each of our own homes by discussing things with our children, and raising them to not have the bigotry of our generation(s). And we have to each, on our own, look at the big picture. That's the wonderful thing about America. We have problems, but we've got the right to speak out and act to fix those problems.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  7. camino

    If u want to continue to have gays in the military that bunk together there really is no need to have seperate living quarters for the males and females. The policy was to keep sexes apart because of sexual problems that arise. Seems like the same thing to me when u put gays with their own sexes that they are attracted to.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  8. Matt

    As a veteran of Iraq it doesn't bother I am conflicted. I could care less what others do on their free time. When you serve you do it for your country. Obviously this is a smart man who is fluent in Arabic and is a capable leader. On those merits he shouldn't have been fired but the Army values state Integrity as one of the pillars of its existence. He knew going into this that he would not be allowed to come out and keep his job. I commend him for having the bravery to stand up for who he is but he did know the law and he did know what would happen if the truth were to come out (pun intended). I do think this law needs to be changed. As a former linguist I understand how hard it is to learn Arabic. I took nearly 1.5 yrs in Monterey, California learning it and it was not easy. This is a highly sought after language and it foolish not to keep him for that in itself. I know the majority of people will scream from the rooftops about how wrong it is and i agree in principal but you also must understand that the average person can't do what we do and will not understand the commitment involved. No one will understand the concept of giving your rights up to serve but when you make these sacrifices you also understand that you are expecting to live up to a certain standard and that doctrine is lifeblood. He knew the consequences and I can guaruntee he waited until Obama became President to force change which is not always the best thing. So before people cry and complain understand that when you put on that uniform you don't the equal rights anymore. You sign those away in order to be a aprt of somehting bigger then you. You give them away so people can cry and complain without being persecuted. You're not out there fighting and watching your buddies die but sitting on your couch and complaining about the news. So think before you type. I commend him on one hand but he broke the law regardless of how assinine it may be. Its still a law and until they change it theres nothing he nor you can do. Its the way of the world.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  9. EJ

    I did not vote for Obama, probably will not vote for him in '12 either. The one thing he promised for "Change We Can Believe In" was that things would be differrent. I have 23 years in the military, and have seen this don't ask/don't tell nightmare created by Clinton become a source of shame for the military. Obama could fix this now by ordering DoD to eliminate this policyand begin accepting Gays openly and without prejudice. Yes, it will anger the far right and many of the older servicemembers who would not vote for him anyway, but it is a change that is sorely needed.

    Obama will play politics with this in order to try and secure re-election because he is more interested in being popular than being a leader. If he cannot exercise some leadership over a matter of internal policy, how can we expect him to exercise leadership over a larger (and possbly unpopular) decision that would put US troops in harm's way?

    Obama stands for change? Whatever.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  10. rebel23

    To Douglas From USA

    As far as the Iraqis go, Woman are for Procreation and Men are for Please. During my 2 tours in Iraq it was very comman to see the Iraqi men holding hands, hugging, kissing and speaking of sexual acts they would do to each other.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Ben

    As with the vast majority of comments on this page, I'm infuriated at what happened. If you're upset, do something:

    THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111

    We're all emotional about this. It's time to get real change done and let the President know.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  12. Dan

    Stop all the whining. When will you all realize that equality only applies to those in the majority? Once you all understand this, we will have a whole lot more peace around here.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  13. Joseph

    When they start allowing Co-ed rooms, and open Co-ed showers, then that should be the time they allow gays to serve openly.

    Think of the logistics. In boot camp, you would have to have a separate platoon for the gays, and in the fleet, you would have to have separate rooms for them. Just like they do for the females.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  14. John in DC

    lol yes 'Active Duty', all the gays have totally "chosen" their lifestyle. I just woke up one day and said to myself "By God, it's high time I started sleeping with men!"

    If you seriously believe that, you've identified the country's problem with gays perfectly: there are people who think that being gay is just something that you can turn on and off. Just like I'm sure you could turn off being straight.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Tim (not Geithner)

    I don't know the reason for him coming out and I don't care. He was discharged because his admission that he was gay assumes that he will engage in homosexual conduct. That conduct, in military terms, is detrimental to good order and discipline, both of which you need to have an effective military. He didn't have to come out, he chose to. His discharge is his own fault.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Chris

    Unfortaunately, for many of you whom have not served in the military such as I have for 20 years, the concept and rules are clear, the ramifications in the lower ranks or in the field for breaking such rules can be devasting. A unit can loose it's moral or become untrustworthy toward it's own members. In hostile or remote territories, many more of my commarades would and will come home as fallen soldiers. The rules were clear and Mr. Chio made a concise and clear descicion without reservation while using his rank and authority in which to carry out his descision. The consequences of his actions were known and do not reflect great credit upon those whom have served or continute to serve. There is a place for don't ask and don't and he chose to repeal them for his own benefit.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  17. Bonnie

    Dear President Obama,

    Please end the don't ask don't tell policy.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  18. Josh

    He's willing to die for his country and it can't accept him for who he is. Look at what we have come to. This country doesn't stand for equality, it stands for bigotry and alienation. This is an example of how some people want to build a wall around our country and push out everything they think is immoral. This country is full of many beliefs not just theirs, and they wont others live their own lives the way they want openly. They would rather be like Iran. They're more like terrorist than patriots!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  19. R.B.

    That's funny, I knew a female Lt that came out in the Oregon Army National Guard, Ellie Werk (sp?). She also held a government office in Central Oregon. They never kicked her out under the "Don't ask Don't tell" policy which was in effect at the time.
    Double Standards for Lesbians vs. Gays?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Ernie

    If you, like me, are sick and tired of hearing all the gays, lesbians, feminists, blacks, hispanics, etc., complain about being treated differently, then I suggest we STOP TREATING THEM DIFFERENTLY. Nothing will quiet their complaining quicker than treating them equally and fairly. Simple, huh?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  21. susan

    Very sad!!! Obama needs to step in and change the policy....I was raised in a military family and have a father who is a retired General and I am very dissapointed this has continued to be a practicing policy in the US.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  22. Bill

    President Obama- we are waiting for an end this hurtful policy. You are trying manfully to achieve many things that cost a great deal. Ending this government- sponsored policy of discrimination now is one positive change that would not require the budgeting of a single dollar. We have waited so long and so many competent, professional young people have been hurt by this- please don't delay any longer. End this now.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  23. JaxnVox

    It's a shame that LT Choi has been dismissed from the service. West Point grad w/Arabic language skills has been "fired"? And what is so unbecoming about this young man being forthright & honest? He had the integrity to come & say this is who I am. He's gay, so what? Aren't there more important things to worry about in life?

    When will this last barrier fall? I'm a veteran & served w/gay & lesbian soldiers, to me they were simply comrades-in-arms. Even had a gay platoon sergeant who was gay & also a highly decorated Vietnam veteran. In fact some of the soldiers I served with didn't try to hide their homosexuality too much, they simply did their jobs day in & day out. And my commanders were content to let them soldier on.

    To LT Choi and the others who were discharged because of DADT 've but two words for you: Drive on!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  24. Robert

    Most of y'all are thinking, "Poor little gay guy". But if he was allowed to stay, what about the rights of most of the others? If I was in the military I would not want to be associated with this guy. Especially in private areas such as restrooms, etc. Don't get me wrong, I have freinds that are openly gay. However, I am also open with them that I feel that what they are doing is nothing more than sexual perversion being legalized.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  25. Active Duty

    Hey gay communnity and those not in the military, leave us alone. We live and work under very peculiar circumstances that you do not understand or appreciate. I will serve with these people under the current policy only. Do you know how many people will leave the military if this is changed? Trust me when I tell you that the current policy is the best policy.

    I make my own choices in life, to include being heterosexual. You are free to make your own choices too. I have never once asked a gay or lesbian friend to change. I do not discriminate, I just do not agree.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  26. WC

    Leave the war to the straight people. They're begging for it. We gays will just sit back and enjoy "not dying or shot dead in Iraq".

    May 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  27. William Cooke

    It took a lot of hope and courage for Choi to out himself, everything we expect from a military leader. What the president is doing on this policy is backpeddle and cowar on moral principle, not something we expect from our Commander-in-Chief. Democrats need to grow a set and face the ignorance and bigotry of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" head on. It was wrong what the Republican-controlled Congress forced it on Clinton and it's wrong now. The only difference is that the Democrats can change it... that IS what we elected them for.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  28. RobNYNY1957

    DADT is a federal law, not an executive order. It cannot be changed with an executive order.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  29. Andrew

    A persons sexuality has absolutely NOTHING to do with their ability to perform a job... zero, zip, NADA! This country is so uncomfortable with it's own sexuality... it's disgusting! Several of my friends are gay and/or bisexual. That's their thing... they know it's not mine... and we all get along fine. People are so quick to label others. "Signs, signs... everywhere are sign. Blocking up the scenery... breaking my mind! Do this... don't do that! Can't you read the signs?" A person is proven through their actions... and, as far as I am concerned, Lt. Choi's actions make him a patriot to the United States of America who should have his commission reinstated immediately! And, by the way, I'm prior service Army... so, I feel I have some grounds to speak based on that fact as well. Respectfully Submitted – Andrew

    May 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  30. Courtney P

    I agree with the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for a number or reasons. First and foremost, all people are not understanding. If the policy was revoked and people were open about their sexuality, how long would it take before hate crimes against homosexuals in the military makes headlines? I'm personally think that sexual preference is an individual decision, but in a wartime situation are others going to feel the same way? Isn't that why women aren't allowed in combat? Because the men would act differently and not fight like they should. Same concept. The military is not saying to hide what you are, they are saying to keep it to yourself because no one needs to know about your personal life. We're not here to make friends people, we're here to serve and defend our country.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  31. rebel23

    While I was in the Army we had several soldiers that were openly gay in my units. This is for both men and women. However, when it came to gay women, it seemed the unit command turned a blind eye to them. We had one female soldier who went AWOL to be with her girlfriend and was caught at the girlfriends house and only given a article 15 with 30 days extra duty. The male soldiers were usualy kicked right out after the command discovered they were gay. There were a couple that they did not kick out so to me it seamed like it was a matter of the commands discretion on if they enforced it. Although, they should have been more even handed when it came to treating the females the same as males.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  32. Karen

    Why can't people just live and let live?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  33. tamika

    Why are you insulting blacks by comparing them to gays? Don't equate my skin with your sin!!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  34. Mark-USN Retired

    One of my biggest issues with DADT is "Security Clearances". We were told that being a homosexual caused people to hide and cover up things in their lifestyle so they were "Risks" in the security situation. DADT tells them to do just that ; LIE. If I lied about my credit rating or about some other personal thing I would lose my clearance, but these highly training people are actually TOLD to lie via the policy. Doesnt that MAKE them a security risk? Could they be extorted into breaking security rules and worse, blackmailed into betraying their country. So DADT actually undercuts the national security. Flawed policy!! It makes Less secure.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  35. joe

    I disagree, yes the military is full of lower and middle class, but we have diversity training several times in a year. And believe it or not, it helps us deal with lots of situations. I spent 6 years in the Air Force, I see and understand a lot more because of the training that I had went through, and I am comfortable enough that it wouldn't have bothered me to serve with a homosexual person.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  36. roger Brushaber

    I support Lt Choi and all the others still serving. I retired form the USAF after 21 years and can finally state in public I am bisexual. I do not understand the culture that is permitted to exist in the US Military. We have "hate crime" legislation on this and yet the military can continue to discriminate...I know of many Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals in the military and none were creating problems...sad that it is the 21st century and we are still thinking like this

    May 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  37. rivoalto

    STUPID! they discharge talented professionals who are desperately needed, and on the flip side allow convicted felons and high school dropouts to join the military. STUPID!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  38. Jay

    I too am a servicemember, and agree it would cause issues.

    When deployed you sometimes have open bay showers, or 'gang showers' as they are sometimes called. No heterosexual man wants another man looking at him while naked. Thats just the way it is, and for gays a 'gang shower' is an all you can see buffet.

    The ones who come out would be beaten, made fun of, ridiculed, and messed with over and over again. There is no way around that. As such it is SAFER for them to either stay in the closet or stay out.

    Don't like the policy? Dont freakin join. Stay home, and work in the civilian sector. We dont need you here.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  39. James Wendel

    If they implemented the draft, I am assuming I can claim I am gay to avoid it. Or do we have a double-standard there too?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  40. I guess that does it for me....

    I guess I will not go back into the army...I can clearly see they are going to change the policy in light of this story...I REFUSE TO SERVE..

    May 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  41. Kathryn

    All he had to do was NOT announce to the world "I like to have gay sex" and he would still be in. I think he is selfish for "coming out". He got a free education, and then decided "Oh my, I can't live like this"?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  42. ziggypopp

    Aaron – Where have you gotten your facts. Numerous studies have proven your logic to be complete crap. You are part of a limited number of homophobes that have or still serve in the military. The whole idea that gays demoralize the military came from a handfull of top brass years ago. Some of these same top brass have come out themselves, not as gays, but as homophobes that have openly admitted it was their own homophobia that led them to suggest these policies.
    Please grow up and face that fact that you are not so hot that gay soldiers can't keep their hands off you.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  43. Robbin

    Absolutely, this is insane. I am sure President Obama will get this resolved quickly!!!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  44. Steaming in Pittsburgh

    President Clinton made a lot of mistakes, but in my opinion, this one takes the cake. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the most senseless and most blatant method of discrimination that I'm aware of, and it's stamped with the government seal of approval. It's disgusting. I also think it's pretty degrading to our troops – we entrust them with our safety, every American is indebted to them for life and longer, and yet, we don't think they're professional enough, and capable enough to handle working alongside a homosexual? The argument that having a known homosexual in the ranks somehow disrupts the "good order and discipline" within a military unit is a bad one. I think that most people in this day and age are accepting of other individuals' personal choices.

    Homosexual soldiers are the same as any other soldier – and they deserve our honor, our respect, and our gratitude. We need to stop discharging qualified and brave individuals from our military for a reason that has absolutely no bearing on their qualifications and their ability to serve. Asking these individuals to be honorable by definition of their duty and then asking them to lie or cover up something that is central to their being is pretty shameful. President Clinton might have been better off imposing "Don't ask, don't tell" on Monica Lewinski.

    This policy is and has always been unconstitutional and regardless of President Obama's intent to repeal this policy, the White House and the people of the United States need to stand up and protect these individuals, like Lt. Choi, that have put their life on the line protecting us.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  45. SSgt Rock

    mytoys, that is an ignorant comment on your part. Obviously youhave NEVER been part of the military but you you cast judgement on us? Shame on your for belittleing the insitution that protects you from harm and has had politics forced upon it.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  46. Chris

    Mr. Choi was not fired on the basis "military policy". He was separated from service in accordance with a federal law passed by the Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court.

    While senior leaders have some discression in setting priorities of enforcement, simply choosing not to follow the law because you do not agree with it is not an option for service members at any level. To do so is what leads (always) to chaos and (potentially) to coups.

    If you don't agree the law is right, say so on your editorial page – but the bias of portraying the military as homophobic or stupid because they follow the law (and the orders of the Commander in Chief) needs to stop.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  47. JBC NYC

    Yeah, Don't ask and don't tell!

    And while you're at it....

    Black people paint your faces white, and girls...wear a fake penis! You know how you disrupt us here!!!!

    You're in the Army Boy!

    (This is sarcasm moderators)

    May 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  48. Mike from Green Bay WI

    Choi is an American who served his country well and would be willing to continue to do so. Because of his sexuality, the military is forcing a person with the exact skills they need to leave the armed forces. What is wrong with this picture??

    Numerous states are now looking at the rights of same sex couples to marry and yet the military still requires people who happen to be homosexual to leave. Haven't these people been serving the very country that promises "freedom and justice for ALL"?

    I believe Choi and everyone in the Knights Out should be allowed to stay in the military if they choose to. They are excellent service men and women who should be allowed to continue to serve this nation.

    And President Obama must put an end to this immediately!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  49. Paul from Sacramento, CA

    I don't think people are truely looking at the real issue at hand here. I'm not exactly sure of the real reasoning this mandate originated, but think about the logisitics involved in overturning it. Instead of having two sexes, you will now have four. Instead of two seperate dormitories, showers, and such, you would now have to have four. This is not a decision that is easily applicable due to financial and management restraints.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  50. Robert

    I have the right to fire an employee if he/she says that they are gay. I should have the right to run my company with the morals and standards as I see fit. I think the military should have that right as well.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  51. Jason

    I served four and half years with the 82nd Airborne in an infantry unit. I spent a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. My question is not if gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve, they definatly should. My problem is more administrative; if you're going to have homosexuals living other homosexuals and with straights as well, are we then going to have co-ed showers and living quarters. I understand that not all homosexuals are attracted to everyone of the same sex but why should they get a 'free show' and everyone else isn't afforded the same allowances? I personally think they should go for it, I don't have a problem with it in the slightest, but I think you have to make similar allowances for straights as well.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  52. Edward Chang in San Diego, CA

    This is outrageous. We must remind our president and fellow lawmakers that discrimation of any kind in our military is un-American. Lt Dan Choi is an asset to this nation and his absence will be another senseless loss to our security. And for those who fear gays in the military, don't tell me no gay US soldier has ever bled or died for this country.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  53. Active Duty

    The gay community will ATTACK anything that gets in the way of their agenda, even though they comprise only 2 -3 percent of the total population. I am in the military, I do not want to shower and perform personal hygeine with a gay man checking me out. I have been SEXUALLY HARRASSED BY GAY MEN ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASSION in the community.

    So this West Point graduate, he does not bother to tell you that when he took the oath, he also said he would agree to follow ALL THE RULES. Well guess what, he didn't. Bottom line is this: gay and lesbian comunity, get a life. We do not care if you choose that lifestyle, just quit pushiing it on 97 – 98 percent of the population. Yes, I said you chose that lifestyle.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  54. Douglas from USA

    I applaud the decision to 'fire' him. Lt Choi agreed to the policy upon signing up. An officers conduct sets an example for the enlisted folks who report to him. If he chooses to 'flaunt' the rules, he doesn't have a leg to stand on when his troops decide to do the same.

    When this happens, discipline and morality breaks down. That makes for a very ineffective military.

    Also, has anyone thought about the Iraqi civilians? I believe homosexuality is against their religious beliefs.

    I don't believe in rape and murder. If another country's military came to my country to 'help me', I wouldn't want their help as my acceptance of their help will indicate that I approve of their morals.

    I don't go around telling everyone that I'm heterosexual. The only time I speak of it is when I am propositioned by a homosexual.

    Heterosexual, homosexual or whatever, keep your sexual orientation to yourself. I personally don't care to hear it.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  55. Aaron P

    Obviously the nation is poised for a larger battle over the rights of gay men and women...and our president, a man I wholeheartedly support and champion, will have to make a very difficult but important decision. As a gay man, I think the time has come – not only for gay people but for the nation – to stand up to the discrimination that has plagued America, just like other civil rights fights in the past. I find it interesting to note to those who do not approve of gay marriage, the repealing of DADT, and legal/adoption rights of gay people are also, in many instances, some of the most intolerant, ignorant, and hateful "Christians" in our nation. What kind of message does that send to others, including our children? Those of you with legitimate and respectful concerns – please speak out and take the reigns.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  56. Joel Tucker, Atlanta

    Yet another example that gay American's are in fact discriminated against for nothing more than being who they are. The policy is shameful and should be rescinded immediately. I wonder if President Obama will have the courage of Lt. Choi.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  57. Dan Ring

    Open homosexuality is detrimental to good order and discipline. The people who support it,by and large ,have not served.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  58. Brian

    Well regardless of how you feel in this matter the LT's chain of command had no choice but to remove him from service. This does not mean he was a bad soldier in any respect. Their is a policy in place that the LT was well aware of. By his public statements he not only violated this policy but brought a political argument into his military service.

    The military follows laws and regulations The fact that he openly outed himself demonstrated his desire to have a political conforontation. To think that the good order and disapline of his unit would not be affected by being the focus of a political fight is not realistic.

    There are many gay service members in the military who are professionals and patriots. You give up alot of things when you raise your right hand and for gay service members that means they can not be open about their sexuality. It is simply the way it currently is.

    If you feel the current regulatins on this issue are not fair attack congress or the administration. Leave the Army out of it. The army will follow what ever guidelines and regulations are in place. The fact is most of the services are far too busy with important matters to care one bit about this. So if you want to fight this fight good luck but if you want to fight it while servering kindly get out.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  59. warren

    Why would anyone want to serve and protect a country that doesn't respect them. The religious nuts and bigots runs America...time for decent people to move out...try Canada maybe.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  60. Government Worker

    I work for the government and that's all they do is LIE. When they are done with you, they are done. No questions asked, here's your papers, now leave. That pretty much sums it up. Sorry're worth so much more.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  61. Jeff

    Even as a West Point Graduate, Lt Choi cannot seem to follow orders ,his Oath of Office, or his sollom word. If he had followed the Orders of the President of the United States his discharge would not have taken place. To be a good leader one must first be a good follower.
    "I, [name], do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___ against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___, that I make this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the Office of [grade] in the Army/Air National Guard of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___ upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.[3]"

    May 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  62. Tamara

    "Your sexual preference should be a small part of your identity, at least it is for normal heterosexual people. They don’t go around announcing their sexual preferences." - Whoaaa... Not even close to true; just turn on the television, or the radio, or open a magazine! Or maybe you don't mean the word "normal" as in "the majority of".

    Anyway, I am all for kicking gays out of the military so they can stay safe here at home and hang out with me!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  63. Christina

    The discrimination facing gays and lesbians in the military is akin to that which used to face blacks and other minorities in the armed services. It wasn't right then, it isn't right now. Neither sexual orientation nor the color of one's skin determines fitness to serve and protect our country.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  64. Ambar

    The military has been saying it needs more people for a long time. I believe instituting the draft was even discussed at one point, even if not implemented. Why is it leaving out people who are capable of serving when they need extra soldiers? Orientation shouldn't have anything to do with how well you serve. How does saying three words "undermine" the NY military? I'm confused.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  65. TomW

    In this day and age we are still discriminating based on sexual orientation. It is no more a matter of who someone is or their committment to their country then gender, color or religion. Get rid of the ridiculous rule already Obama will you???

    May 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  66. Scotty

    How can a nation who to claims equity for all, be so hypocritical. The Military and government – all of which is sworn to support the nation and the principles of the constitution openly breaks its the most basic of its own laws.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  67. david

    My son just joined the Air Force. He is a straight male ready to serve. I can say he would not care if a fellow troop member was gay or straight as long as they do there job and don't "impose" there sexual views on him. Just as he would not tell them what he likes. I support all our troops gay or straight. Putting your life on the line is far more important than what you like in "bed". Its unfair and everyone should not have to lye about who they are. We all have our own ways of thinking. Is this america ? God Bless all our troops period. End of story.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  68. Frank

    All of these personnel who join the military know the regulations and for him to say that after all he did he should get special treatment is unbecoming.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  69. Mary

    It seems to me that if Lt. Choi wanted to serve and become a person of high integrity in the service, the least he could have done is keep his mouth shut and do his military job(s). If he's more interested in telling the world who he is, then at least for the time being he is in violation of the, "don't ask, DON'T TELL" policy. After all, nobody is asking him.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  70. Timothy Lee


    I served in the Military as a submariner during the Cold War. Your bigoted response suggesting that gay Americans are a 'downgrade' compared to straight Americans is a big part of what is wrong with our Country. It is hard to believe that in the 21st century, this sort of prejudice exists.

    Where exactly does your sense of heterosexual entitlement come from?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  71. RobK

    If "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed, the military should end all gender specific segregation. No separate showers, bathrooms, living quarters, clothing or equipment. All the same, whether heterosexual or homosexual, male or female.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  72. James Cooper

    READ the policy and stick to IT, by admitting that your GAY openly violates that RULE, then why admit it in the first place. It's welcoming to know that you want to serve your country, but follow directions and abide with the law.

    THERE are RULES that needs to be followed and there WILL be consequences if you broke those RULES. So admitting to breaking that RULE is just fair and justified.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  73. Tom Aitken

    Live with it. You knew what the rules were. You decided you couldn't live in hiding and they decided that you broke the rules. What is the problem? You are being who you are, and they are being who they are. Stop whinning!!!!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  74. Racy

    Obama sucks and I can't wait for him to be gone after the 4 years.Those who voted him in are now realising that he can't not be trusted. All he wanted is to be on the big stage.He has no idea what he is doing . He is a puppet of those old democrats. Can't wait for him to move to his filthy chicago.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  75. Anthony

    Take it from a combat vet. gays and lesbians deserve their rights but keep it out of the military. there is no room for that stuff in combat, you want to be gay be gay stay out of the military......

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  76. JBC NYC

    Wow! to the first post.

    Most of the people in this country are no better than the freaks we're trying to protect ourselves from.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  77. RichP

    Surprise surprise, Obama is a politician, it's his job to lie, back out of promises made in the 'heat of campaigns'. Holds true for 100% of our elected officials. I'm not gay and never had any problems serving with those that were. The rule stinks.
    USN 70-77, USA 78-01

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  78. paul wisconsin

    I wish all gays would go back in the closet. Main stream america is getting sick of the gay agenda and how they jam it down our throats.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  79. Ryan

    What a disgrace. In this day and age to destroy someone's life and career because they are homosexual is abhorrent. Throw in the fact that he speaks Arabic fluently and that's doubly insane. And how does homosexuality make him "morally or professionally derelict" or "negatively effect the good order and discipline" of the National Guard. The government is pathetic. And as long as homosexuals are treated as second class citizens, they are under absolutely no obligation to pay the same taxes or obey the same laws that that the first class citizens, heterosexuals, do. It's high time Gay Americans start fighting back, with violence if necessary.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  80. matt

    As a military veteran I have an uncomfortable truth for you, the great majority of people serving in the milittary are poor and lower middle class, and do not share the ideas of diversity that others might. To inflict openly gay members of the military will surely have the effect of lowering morale. Not pretty, not nice, but that is the fact. Our national security is more important then how you feel.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  81. Walt

    The previous Democratic President, Bill Clinton, also found that once in office, and even with the title of Commander in Chief, you can't simply order the US Armed Forces to stop being homophobic.

    It seems that Obama faces the same obstacle.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  82. Anthony

    This kind of discrimination is slowly, but surley on the road to making gays and lesbians the next minority to be frowned upon and abused by the public. It seems our country always needs someone to hate. Centuries ago, it was african-americans, decades ago, it was women, and now it is gays and lesbians. People are pushing young gay and lesbian kids to commit suicide. Something has to be done to stop this. I'm only 16 years old and I know this. I'm also gay and tell you all that read this that being gay is NOT a choice. I can't help it. Just please don't let this escalade into something bigger.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  83. Raymond

    WOW....He wants to fight for his Country, One that dosent want to fight for him. How sad is that???


    May 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  84. CMendoza

    What I don't understand is that it would be illegal for me to deny someone employment at my company because of their sexual orientation, but the United States Military can "fire" a good soldier for admitting that they are a homosexual. I don't get it. They recruit people that have gone over seas and raped and murdered innocent people, murdered pregnant soldiers and burried them in their backyard after burning their body and knowingly still employ people that are obviously mentally unstable. How does this happen??? I am a national guard soldier myself and I would be proud to serve with Lt. Choi.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  85. Stentor

    Any commendations, medals, awards and honorable discharges bestowed upon members of the New York State National Guard during the time of Lt. Choi's service should be immediately revoked since it had been declared that their good order and discipline was negatively affected by Lt. Choi's homosexuality.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  86. Aaron

    I appreciate the military for adhereing to strict moral standards. The military is 100 percent oposite of the civilian world and unless you are part of it you don't and won't understand that way of life. Homosexuality would be a downgrading of a higher standard of living.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  87. Peggy

    I saw this young man on Rachel Maddow's show last night, he is articulate, great personality and nice looking. What a waste of our money to educate him at one of the academies and then because he is gay to kick him out of the military. Oh, I guess we don't need him, he is only an Arabic translator. This is one thing that I am upset with Obama about and this is something he promised to change. There was also a young woman officer that was being discharged due to being a Lesbian. I am very disgusted with this country, Are we going backwards? A young lady being murdered because she was Jewish, prejudice against gays and blacks. I was hoping for more under the new President.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  88. Racy

    Cut the Crap. Only real men are to be in the Army. I support the Military for firing him. This nations sucks and it is going to Hell.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  89. Timothy Lee

    You can debate the wisdom of this young man's not continuing to hide his identity as a gay American in order to continue to serve – but the bottom line is that the 'dont ask dont tell' policy is a disgraceful policy.

    Bigotry and descrimination of this sort should be a sad footnote in the history books – not a abhorent reality of 21st century America.

    President Obama – you have prided yourself on being able to focus on many things at once. Please put an end to this policy of government sponsored descrimination. It weakens our nation by expelling skilled and necessary citizens from our military and, perhaps worse, it weakens the very moral fibre of our Democracy.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  90. Dave, Atlanta

    If anyone needed proof that Don't ask don't tell hurts our nation's security, this is it. At a time when the military and the intelligence services desperately need officers with Arab language skills, at a time when we know that our ability to fight terror is being hampered by a lack of officers with Arab language skills, we are turning away linguists because of their sexual preference.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  91. HAH

    Good for him. Took great courage to be proud of who he is and to refuse to stay in the closet. He did the right thing by coming out and I'm personally very proud of him. The military should be ashamed of what this policy does to our young men and women who wish to serve our great nation.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  92. Chris from San Antonio, Texas

    I heard this story on MSNBC, but I'm not saying I watch it to compete over CNN, no no. The story I heard from Choi felt like he's being slapped hard by the people who tells gays "to lie over their orientation" in order to serve in the army. This is getting pathetic over the DADT policy, note the acronyms. It's unpatriotic to throw gays and lesbians out of the army because of them getting out of the closet as gays or lesbians. Anyone, not matter what of their creed, orientation, or status, or marital status, has the right to serve in the army. I say to them, let them serve, as long they don't "hit on them." Don't Ask Don't Tell must be taken out! Period!

    May 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  93. Jay Thompson

    "Don't Ask Just Tell" the armed forces to stop wasting taxpayer money in dismissing fully-qualified personnel from serving our country. Good Lord, how long does it take for the Pentagon to hatch an idea?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  94. dennis

    President Obama could have ended the Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy with a signature on an Executive Order just as President Clinton established it in an Executive Order. Before Pres Clinton's Executive Order, he would have been courts marshalled for no less than conduct unbecoming of an officer.

    The letter/memo sent to the Lt was probably a standard template where a clerk could type in the individual's name and organization.

    Additionally, the NY National Guard is the NY Governor's militia, I believe commanded by a one or two star general. What are they doing for or to him?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  95. Billy

    I was also ousted from the Navy after my commander learned of my sexual orientation. Nothing the government can do will repair the betrayal I've experienced from this discharge. I still love the military, and would go back in a heart beat if recalled, but Barack Obama lied, just like all the other politicians. and to think, I voted for him for that reason.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  96. Mike

    Truly the the most ridiculous policy our country has ever had.
    End it now!
    13,000 individuals released for being honest and true about who they are....funny, I thought that's exactly what the military was about.
    Honesty, loyalty and love of country.

    So sad, it sickens me.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  97. mytoys

    why would you ever want to be part of an organization the treats it's members this way. I am not gay but I am very glad I never had anything to do with the military and their bigoted ways.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  98. Janie

    Choi is a patriot and wants to serve our country. Plus, he has skills that the FBI, CIA, and the military are desparately in need of. So why was he kicked out? Because he loves his country? Because he chose to use his much needed skills to help the country instead of himself or another country? Who makes these policy decisions? Who signed that letter? This is absolutely ridiculous. God bless this man for volunteering to serve my country. I am thankful that there are men out there like him who are looking out for me. Unfortunately, this country is now less safe because Choi is not there to help protect it.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  99. John

    It just goes to show how far we haven't come as a nation. Here you have someone willing to risk their life for their country only to be told that they don't matter. It has been my experience that a lot of people can't accept in others what they can't accept in themselves. It's definitely more of a loss for the military than it is for Lt. Choi. I wish him the best in all his future endeavors.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  100. JB NYC

    Well, this is at least one thing the zero has done right

    May 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
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