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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. Richard

    Good for the army. I deployed to Iraq for 15 months where most of that time was spent in small rooms with 10 plus men all living together. If we had had a gay in there with us, we would have gone nuts. Just like heterosexual guys who go for girls in Iraq, homosexuals will do the same thing. Do I want to worry about looking over my shoulder making sure that nobody is watching me undress? Heck no. It's sad to think that the morality of this country is so far gone that we have just given up teaching our kids right from wrong. And all of you people who say that our country should allow this, and especially the people who got kicked out for it, should learn that the military has rules for a reason. If you were a gay and got kicked out for it, but say that you love your country, if you really loved your country so much, you would have followed your orders over following your sexual preferences.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  2. xxxx

    Shane: You are an idiot. Does that mean I should be permitted to walk into a women's shower/restroom based upon those same arguments?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  3. joe

    straight men in service don't want gays in there baracks. I was in the Army & I think 95% of veterans &service men now serving feel the same way.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  4. David

    This article is very typical of the media: only tell one side of the story. What does the military have to say in their defense? Or is the media afraid to discuss it?

    The media loves to discuss sexuality in terms of persecution. The isolated (and should I say immoral) beating of a homosexual means that anyone who even secretly beleives that homosexual behavior is wrong is a nazi.

    I've never been in the military. My understanding of homosexuals in the military hinges, at least in part, around a principal similar to that men and women are in different sleeping quarters to discourage sexual impropriety and harassment. Do quarters also need to be seperated between gay and straight, feminite and butch?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  5. J Holmes

    "Cut the Crap. Only real men are to be in the Army. I support the Military for firing him."

    Gays have been and always will be a part of the U.S. military...anyone who denies this is a homophobe.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Marquisetta

    Know wonder Al-Qaedia and the Taliban are winning...

    May 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  7. PM

    I am a graduate of Annapolis and served for many years in the US Navy. I swore an oath, as have all military members, "...to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." The constitution I know and love does not allow for discrimination of any kind. I served with gays on several occasions. At no time was there any effect on unit cohesion or the ability of anyone to perform their duties.

    DADT is a disgraceful policy and needs to be repealed. It was a poorly thought-out compromise between the older generation of homophobic Admirals and Generals, and an administration that wanted to be more inclusive. I implore all decent Americans to write your Senators and Representatives to ask them to work toward the speedy repeal of this policy. As a country, we're much better than this.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  8. Steve

    Gays do not belong in the military period! Letting them in is just one more of the many steps we have already taken towards the pussification of America; it's no wonder so many nations have lost respect for us. He knew the rules, and he broke them. I don't understand why gay's feel they need to throw their sexual orrientation in everybodies face. who cares keep it to yourself. I know my attitude is far from being p.c. but that is another problem with this company everybody is so worried about offending some small group that we have lost our culture, and America just isn't America anymore.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  9. Chuck

    LT Choi knew prior to attending West Point that the current military policy was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Whether the policy is correct or not it was and is the policy. He then later after reaping the rewards of a top notch education, the privalege of serving the country in the time of need, decided to come out against the policy.

    I think that it is great that he now has the personal conviction to do such a thing. I would NOT consider him a hero or patriot for this action. His patriotism has to do with his service not the decision now to attempt to change the Army policy.

    He KNEW the ramification of his actions prior to West Point, in Iraq and in his "coming out". He should NOW be prepared to "salute" the flag pole and hang up his uniform, this is the decision he has now made.

    The Army standards are NOT the same as the civilian sector. Very few jobs can be lost due to adultry, where in the military it is jail time. The Uniform Code of Military Conduct does not apply to civilians as it does for military, nor should it. All military personnel understand this and have "raised" their right hand knowing the standard, the military does not waffle on this. LT Choi new the standard and decided not to follow it. It is a very simple case.

    NOW with all of that said, all of those who believe that the DADT policy is incorrect should hold President Obama accountable for his campaign promises. BUT remember the miltary is not a test tube for social norms, the emotions need to be removed from the discussion, unbaises debate needs to be held, a policy that is right for the security of the United States needs to be the litmus test, not what YOU would think is just "fair".

    May 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  10. Dino, Washington, D.C.

    Dee Jay, yes the military discriminates against overweight people and people with health problems and their are certain height and weight standards for certain positions .i.e someone 6'8" can't be a fighter pilot; however those restrictions are based on potential PREFORMANCE!!! Gays and lesbians have proven themselves time and time again to be competent and capable members of the US Armed Forces. The justification for banning known gay people such as harming morale and unit cohesion lacks any factual support. There have been service members who most of their fellow coworkers knew about their sexual orientation and its wasn't an issue. Furthermore, many comments have said that serving in the Armed Forces isn't like a civilian job; sure niether is being a police officer or a firefighter, and openly gay and lesbian have preformed in those areas as well.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  11. John Smith

    BTW: I don't even listen to atheist. Their opinions are by default not worthy of my attention.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  12. Bernie

    I do believe the policy is "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Now for someone who went to West Point and graduated, I'm sure that policy was covered during his time there. Why didn't he say something then? To me that's like an enlisted (non-officer) person disobeying an order and paying the consequences. He knew the rules / policy and decided to tell. If he was so bend on staying in and serving then he should have kept his mouth shut. I have nothing against gay, but they are not special and should live by the same rules and expect the consequences if they don't. Peole were being put out of the services for the same reason long before that policy was in place. The policy was put in place so it wouldn't be so easy to get rid of them, but if you're foolish enough to let them know without them asking then you should be fired. To me that's a fool and I would not want to knowing serve under someone like that.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Mike Melton

    Why should I be forced into believing or supporting something I think is wrong? Talk about intolerance! As long as you go along and etc... Well I would rather be a homophobe than a homosexual! Nor would I serve with a homosexual in combat! They are a distraction and a genetic hiccup!!!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Matt

    I think the Military is right by firing him. I think only Red Knecks and poor ignorant folk should serve in the military. That's what this nation is all about. Keeping people ignorant and supporting hatred and red knecks.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  15. SO

    The idea that because one has never served in the military their belief or opinion doesn't carry any weight is as illogical as the opinion that because a man doesn't carry a child, he shouldn't have a say over whether his gf has an abortion. Would you make that same argument, Mike, or would you say that because it's the man's child as well he should have some say? Well, guess what, this is OUR freedom, too, so I think the general public's opinion also matters.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Tim Hope in Houston

    These discriminatory practices occurred to appease a far right conservative groups. To me this group does not believe in our country's sacred national documents. We are all born with all inalienable rights as citizens of the United States. STOP the infuriating discrimination NOW!!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Dave

    Zach in Chicago May 8th, 2009 1:33 pm ET

    Kind of funny how straight guys think that every gay guy is gonna hit on them…seriously? You’re not all that

    Bravo Zach. I have many gay friends, military and civlian who are very picky on the men / women they hit on.

    And hey, lets go ahead and kick out all the hispanics, blacks, asians, everyone huh? Because I fear blacks will put a cap in my ass, asians will eat my dog, and hispanics will hit on my wifes big booty. Seriously, fearing gays? Great to see what religion and conservatism has did to so many minds, way to go God.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Frank

    To those who ask WHY this nonsense continues, look no further than the religious right and the republican party they bought. These are the people who would rob us of our freedoms and rights.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  19. Dave

    Anyone that has not served cannot understand the need for the policy. Don't try to compare military life to civilian life until you and every co-worker of the same sex have to share a shower and sleep in close quarters every night. We don't consider it androphobia if a woman is uncomfortable to shower in front of a man, so why is it being labeled homophobia if a man is uncomfortable to shower with a gay man? You can only push liberalism so far before there are consequences.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  20. AD

    To "Mike": " May 8th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

    "I would also point out, that if you have never served in the military than your belief or opinion does not carry any weight."

    Balderdash. I don't need to have served in the military to know when my fellow Americans' civil rights are being trampled on.

    By your reasoning, I'm sure there are a great many things you should keep quiet about.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Jim B. in Savannah

    It's just not right to end any soldier, sailor, or airmen's service to their country because of their sexual orientation. Dedication to duty, professionalism, and discipline are what matter.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  22. Joshua

    Thank you Mr. Clinton for this idiotic rule.

    Former LCPL, USMC, 1991-1993

    May 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  23. James

    I am so tired of the homophobes in this country that feel that can justify discrimination of gays and lesbians for any reason. Those are the people that need to be labeled for what they are: small-minded pathetic. There is no justification for discrimination. This is one situation where President Obama needs to just make it happen and do the right thing. He says he wants to do it right, then get your butt in gear and do it right...but do it already.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  24. Kevin

    There is a question here of what is honorable. The “Don't ask don't tell” policy was in effect when Dan Choi made the decision to sign up. He accepted the 'terms of agreement' at that time. I applaud him for being true to himself. This is honorable. It is also honorable of the military to continue to enforce their laws.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  25. Larry

    OBAMA LIED – GAYS FIRED

    May 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  26. UsingReason

    All, you cn say this is a great travisty that he was discharged. I don't agree with teh Don't ask don't tell policy but at teh same time it is a rule. Someone said earlier that they cannot discriminate based on race, religion, etc so how can the Army get rid of someone becuse of it. It is in the "Handbook" for a reason to be fired, like it or not it is currently a rule and if we get to pick and choose what rules we follow and break then we begin to lose our society. I think all should be allowed to serve but currently the rules do not allow that. Change the rule, or work to change the rule but it is a rule and he knew it and was basically under an order to follow the policy and he chose not to follow a direct order by the commander in chief, that is reason enough to be booted. Good luck with following Rules down the road at your new place of employment.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  27. RyRy From Dallas

    It's become more intriguing to read what the blogs say than the actual story. What pile of sticks do some of you live in (or under)? To respond to one about how gays keep shoving their "agenda" down throats (by the way, that made me chuckle a little)...there would not be an "agenda" if our HUMAN rights were "allowed" to us. Marriage = man+woman = divorce in like a year. Military = straight? Maybe the military should make sure to put that in their ad campaigns. What exactly is the big deal about homosexuals...is it the fact that we engage in something that makes you want to vomit? Sir, please tell me what two "lesbians" do for you? Hmmm...that's what I thought. And captian sir that was kicked out of the Army – move along – you don't want to be part of that anyway...xoxo...have a fabulous weekend!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  28. totally neutral

    Quoting Racey:

    "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."

    Might I add if this is true its because of wingnuts like Racey. Racey – Hell is awaiting you with open arms.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  29. Jim Kerr

    When you join the military you know darn well that they do not want gays. I served fourty years ,active duty,national guard and reserve .Most of my service was with the U.S. Army Special Forces..If there were any gays among us, I could not tell. There is no place in our military for them.They have to be sick in the head. What do gays not understand about 'DON'T ASK-DON'T TELL?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  30. Army Veteran

    Some people have asked if the military is for individual's rights. First of all, if you have not served in the military, you have no idea of the impact of openly gay men and women would have on the morale and combat readiness of our military units. In the oath of enlistment, you swear to uphold and maintain the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, to obey the orders of the officers appointed over me, the Uniform Code Military Justice, ect. so help you God. The UCMJ does not allow for the gay lifestyle. The morale issue of openly gay men and women is also addressed in the context of the oath of enlistment, "so help me God". This lifestyle is as a sin against God. The bible does not say the man shall leave his mother for the breast of another man, he is to be with a woman, they together as one. I do not endorse homosexuality, and I am no longer homophobic, as I once was. I have several gay friends, both male and female. They taught me just because they are gay, does not mean they are attracted to you, just heterosexuals are not attracted to all of the opposite sex. In a combat environment such as Iraq and Afganistan, there would be unavoidable problems within the unit. Again, as I have said before, unless you have humped a rucksack, you have no idea of the impact openly gay men and women would have in the military.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  31. Jon from California

    so wait... we don't want gays in the army because they can't shoot straight?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  32. Shane

    I am continually amazed that heterosexual men are so paranoid about being looked at in the shower. As a gay man, I always feared the locker rooms in high school. I was always fearful that if I looked at someone, I would be found out. If I looked, someone might take offense. So guess what? I never looked. I imagine (never served in the military myself) many gay men act the same way in the showers. Oh, and don't tell me that straight men don't check out other men. They look too, perhaps for different reasons, but they're looking. I think it's time for the grown men serving in the military to GROW UP! "Mom! he's looking at me! Make him stop looking at me!"

    May 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  33. Adam

    I am a straight man who severed for years with soldiers who I knew and many suspected to be gay. The fact that they had to hide who they were was a shame. Despite the fact that most in the company knew or had a good idea that these soldiers were gay did not affect discipline or moral because these were highly skilled professional soldiers and when push comes to shove, that is what most are concerned with.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  34. Luke

    I served in the Army for 8 years and I don't have a problem with gays serving but I don't think they should use the same barracks/showers as other men. Men and women are required to do many things seperately from each other. If gays and lesbians can serve and be open about their sexuality then they will need seperate living quarters as well. If straight men and women can't be in the same barracks then gay men shouldn't be in the same barracks as other men either. They would need to further seperate the soldiers; barracks for straight men, gay men, straight women, and gay women. But then that wouldn't be fair either. They won't let men and women shower and live in barracks together, but they would be letting gay men shower and live together?, gay women shower and live in barracks together? Would that be fair?

    Gay's and lesbians should be allowed to serve but the military will need to make some changes to accommodate them and keep things fair.

    For the LT, I'm glad he was kicked out. I might not agree with DADT, BUT it is an order that he was aware of. If you don't follow orders you get punished. It's simple as that. If the policy changes, then he should be allowed back in with no negative impact. Until the government changes the policy it must be followed just like any other order that you are given while in the service.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  35. Josh

    For all of you that say it will destroy the military. They're already serving with straight people, and other countries where they do it openly, it has not destroyed their way of life. If you are uncomfortable with another person looking at you in a shower room, you are pathetic, insecure and you may have never known that you had already been seen nude by a gay person, and you lived.
    As for this "suddenly" being "ok" to be gay. It still isn't "ok" if you're complaining that it's being accepted by some, and while others are still persecuted for being gay.
    This issue cannot be solved by throwing out an opposing persons view of morality. If you don't accept being gay in the military, then you don't have to be gay in the military. If you aren't comfortable around gay people, that's why you don't want to know who they are in the military. If you don't know who they are, then it doesn't matter to you. A blind eye is a sad way to live, to just let people be repressed by others is no better than killing them with your own hands. You are sad people and cowards. You know nothing of fairness and justice, just idealism and radical christian beliefs. You're no better than terrorist, you deserve to die alone, without gay people who were willing to protect some of what you stand for.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  36. Anthony

    i don't think it's anyone's place to say "let the gays/lesbians serve in the military". do you have to shower and be forced into close quarters with homosexuals? no. you get to type away on your keyboard from the safety of your homes. i'm heterosexual and i wouldn't want to shower in front of a homosexual. its the same reason why i wait to go home to shower when i work out at the gym. not to say gays are sex-starved individuals who can't be professional – but naked is naked. just like if there was coed showers at my gym i can be an adult and not make a big deal out of it but don't kid yourself if you think i wouldn't be sneaking looks every change i got. its the same thing.

    morally wrong/right or not – it's not my place to say "let him serve in the military – what do i care, i never have to be in an awkward situation with a gay person ever so it's easy for me to say". take it from the Marine who posted here, there'll be fights if homosexuality is open. as a soldier your job is to not have an opinion, to not be an individual, to be one small part of a much larger organism. your personal freedoms are signed away when you enlist. you're property of the US. there is no place for sexuality in the military. don't ask don't tell is a great feature in that it says as long as you don't make a big show about your sexual orientation and come out of the closet then the military won't actively seek to kick you out. thats a fair compromise.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  37. Patti

    In one response to a gentleman who said that, "you, the great majority of people serving in the military are poor and lower middle class, and do not share the ideas of diversity that others might". I would like to note that when I listen to Lt. Dan Choi speak and look at his credentials I know he speaks for the majority of highly educated military personnel and soldiers in this day and age. I also think and would hope we have evolved as a civilization and a nation enough to abolish this law without it "hurting anyone's morale". It seems like what people want to hang onto is the past mindset of our fathers and grandfathers when in fact we have evolved both educationally and in our mindset of non discrimination. It is time to live in the present and move forward with our thinking America. President Obama, the time for action on this is now.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  38. Lisa

    There is nothing quite like the military shooting itself in the foot. In order to entice more members, the military is now accepting high school drop outs and convicted felons but West Point, Arabic speaking grads need not apply. How short-sighted.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  39. Charles

    Why is this not a hate crime?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  40. Frank

    For those of you that have never served in the military, you'll never understand the reasoning behind the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule. As with any government agency, change is slow and tedious, and the military is one of the slowest to implement change. I'm NOT saying the policy is right, but for now, there remains a need for it until the military way of thinking can evolve. What is the military way of thinking? The military way of thinking is about trust. Trusting the person next to you is the key to team work...and team work is what the military is all about. Esprit de corp as it is know to "us". Without "IT", you have no military. Our military and its ways have been around longer than our government and it will take awhile longer before it changes. For those of you bashing our military, you know where you can go...I'll be nice...go find another country to live in. You should be thankful of our military for providing the country where your able to speak your mind "freely" is provided. But as for the rule of don't ask...it will change, eventually. For now, however, the policy is in effect and should be followed until it is changed...Thanks.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  41. Lawrence

    If any woman commenting here would feel comfortable taking showeris with men you don't know and using the public restrooms with men then you have a legitimate reason to complain. Men, if you would like your wives to start showering with other men and using the public bathrooms then you have a legitimate reason to complain. The fact is most women don't want to shower with men who are not their husbands and most men don't want their wives doing it either. But it is totally acceptable to you to want other men taking showers with men who are sexually attracted to them? Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Bottom line is though, Lt. Choi knew the rules and chose to disobey them, therefore, he is punished. Much like a child, when they disobey they get punishment (even if it is a timeout). But then again that is another problem with society today. No one disciplines their children so the feel they (the children and in this case Lt. Choi) believes they have a RIGHT to everything, thus so many people here approving of disobeying the rules.

    Personal responsiblity is LOST.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  42. Rich

    I hear various people saying that our military contains many homophobic members who simply can't handle serving with openly gay soldiers. However, we also have a real problem with morality going south and soldiers doing things they aren't supposed to do that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

    Perhaps our willingness to coddle the insecurities of soldiers has something to do with the apparent increase in lack of self-discipline. I hear repeatedly that the bar is high for soldiers and they adhere to strict standards of conduct, but that bar, from the perception of someone from the outside, appears to be slipping.

    I do not think it is beneficial to treat adult servicemen and women as if sexuality doesn't exist any more than it is beneficial to try to hide sexuality from our children, who undoubtedly find their own interpretations of the same issue. Education, awareness, open communication. That's what -everyone- in our country needs, including our armed forces.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  43. Manuel J.

    I loved "Mytoys" comment... he's glad he's never had to do anything with the military.

    You should be ashamed of yourself. It's people like you, who don't know what it takes to be a soldier, that are turning this into an issue.

    The military rules and regulations are clear. The military operates under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This is the law that all military personnel live by. There is no room for discussion. Only under these conditions can the military operate effectively. Can you imagine if people squabbled because they were ordered into combat and had a caucus over rights and such? In short, battles would be lost and deaths would occur.

    Choi had a choice. He wanted to make an issue of something and he wanted to politicize it. He was wrong on both accounts. I doubt you even know it's against the UCMJ for military personnel to speak against the commander-in-chief. Effectively, Choi did that.

    I'm not an Obam fan and I don't believe in most of his positions. Even so, he is our commander-in-chief and deserves the respect of the office.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  44. William ONeill

    I would like to inject that the idea that gays are outlandish with their sexuality, is an idea that is totally absurd. Why should gay people have to silence their love or sexuality, when straight people hold hands, kiss, get married, embrace, talk about there love life, have greeting cards, porn, weddings, celebrate anniversaries, talk about sexual experiences, select mates, date, post personal adds, congratulate each other on relationships, whine about relationships, write books, print magazines, get divorced, and do all the other damn things that involves relationships and sexuality. Love and sexuality among straight couples is a constant presence in our society. The minute a gay person is doing it you get the freak show that has to say we are forcing ourselves on them. Well I have news. The gay community KNOWS we have the RIGHT to be WHO WE ARE, and WE ARE TIRED of being told we must silence ourselves. The gay community WILL CONTINUE to spend less and less of our time CATERING to those of you that are so disillusioned to the world around you, that you think you own the road of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Less and less of us will keep our mouths shut so you can enjoy your bigoted perch. Less and less of us will refrain from holding hands just so you can feel comfortable. Less and less of us will be afraid to share our love so you can think we are 2-3 percent of the population. YOU WILL FAIL IN YOUR EFFORTS TO CONTROL THOSE YOU HATE. THE GAY COMMUNITY WILL PUT AN END TO YOUR SELFISH, PATHETIC and VILE view of OUR world.

    William O'Neill
    Cambridge, MA

    May 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  45. allan

    What a disgrace what our military and government is doing, I live in a military town and there is a lot of GAYS and LESBIANS here, they ALL serve our country with valor, courage, love and honor. And they all have the same goal: to serve and protect our beloved country and all its peoples!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  46. Brad

    Some of you guys need to come out of the closet and stop trying to convince the rest of us you don't find the same sex attractive by condemming others for your own feelings.

    If you are so bothered by gay people it's not because you feel sexually indifferent to members of your own sex.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  47. common sense

    Regardless of what President Obama wants, it takes an act of Congress to change the UCMJ (uniform code of military justice). What we should be asking is why hasn't an armed services congressional oversight committee proposed such legislation.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  48. Richard Goehl

    He was an officer. He knew the rules. If he broke one he will break another. The military is not the place to play games with rules. Would he punish a lower ranking member for breaking a rule? No matter what his views are, rules are there until changed and officers in particular should obey them.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  49. Mary

    I agree with Bill, we keep using antiquated reasons to keep certain groups out of the military. We have argued that a woman could not be in combat because she would be a distraction, yet the Israelis do not have an issue with it....so why should we. Similarly, the argument that gay men in the showers will cause a problem is just downright ridiculous. My gay male friends always laugh at these assertions, like they are such sex fiends they cannot contain themselves and might start coming on to their fellow soldiers in the shower? are you serious?

    As for Mike's comment that I cannot have an opinion because I was not in the military....shame on you, we have fought wars over my right to have an opinion.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  50. Michael

    If the sexisting policy is,"Don't ask, don't tell," what he did is obvious.
    Why complain about consequences?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  51. Mike

    What I don't understand is how some on here say they would have a problem showering with gay servicemen, and then claim that it is a choice to be gay. To me that's a contradiction. If being gay was a choice, then we're all actually straight in real life. If we're all really straight then there shouldn't be a problem showering together, right? Hmm, then why is there a problem? Maybe those men who are scared are actually gay themselves and are too ashamed to admit it. That's what our society has taught us. It has been my experience that men who are uncomfortable with their own sexuality, and who usually have some attraction toward other men, are the ones to lash out at openly gay men.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  52. Megan

    Let's not forget all the foreign nationals who are allowed into the military for the sole purpose of gaining citizenship. We are purposefully denying our services of valuable individuals based on an out-dated set of beliefs. Am I the only one that finds this backwards? We keep out legitimate American citizens who are well-qualified and we let in potential terrorists.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  53. Bob

    Bill – yes, your country is significantly behind the rest of the world in many many ways. If it were not for the significant population advantage that the USA has on all other developed countries, it would be irrelevant (unlike many other countries that lead in terms of innovation, progressiveness, etc.)

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  54. DeeJay

    The point that is being missed here is the MISSION of the US Military is the first priority and requires discrimination in order to succeed in life or death situations. The military discriminates against overweight people and people with certain health problems, mental and physical limitations...women still can't serve in certain positions, and guess what? You can be kicked out for committing adultry. It's not because the military thinks being overweight, having epilepsy, being homeosexual or being a woman are mortal sins, but because their mission is unlike any "job" you may have.... the military's reason for existance is to go to war...., in less than ideal situations, live, work and play together in cramped quarters, and be able to function as a cohesive unit....people's lives depend on it. There are certain behaviors/health issues and gender realities that make that difficult to do successfully, so the military is structured to avoid the issues.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  55. Ric

    The irony of the situation is that the military would have contiued to praise him, had they not found out he was gay. This is so ridiculous. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it...

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  56. Bill

    I truly appreciate all the thoughtful and honest comments from the readers who say, "He should have been fired," "I own a company and would also fire anyone who's gay," and "I agree with this government policy." Congratulations to you all. It takes tremendous courage and confidence to publically admit to one's own bigotry and discrimination. I give you all a lot of credit for being small-minded and exclusive, you should all be very proud!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  57. AJ

    Once again, the DEMOCRATS reveal themselves to be lying backstabbers to their gay supporters. Obama the COWARD-n-Chief will continue DADT, Pelosi & Reid will not allow gay marriage recognition, and all three will oppose adoption by gay parents. With the supermajority in Congress, the DEMOCRATS can no longer scapegoat the Republicans for their own anti-gay bigotry. If Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin had any integrity they would leave the party and become Independents, but they are basically Nancy's house slaves, so that won't happen. Next time, I'm voting GREEN!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  58. Joe

    Just how many service men/women are there who are fluent in arabic? Not nearly enough to do the jobs that need to be done. It is utter insanity to dismiss anyone who speaks the language most needed to do the work of keeping this county safe. And to do it for no more reason than homophobia makes it all the worse.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  59. Adam

    Most mistake this for a government policy on morals. While this is morally based, it is enforced for good order and discipline. It falls in the same category as adultery, which has also led to many discharges. If you understand the environment, you will understand the policy. You can't routinely create a situation that adversely effects moral. ie. 60 straight males should not be expected to sleep, shower, eat, and live 24/7 with gay males. The cost to remedy this problem would be worse than the effect that the current discharges cause. Regardless, you must choose the lesser of two evils.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  60. maxie

    It's ridiculous how some people think gays have an adverse effect in the military, yet there is a history of heterosexual misconduct that has always been tolerated. Illegitimate kids left round the world, sexual assault of local women. It's all been hushed over the years. Now the hetero military guys are assaulting their fellow women soldiers. Sounds like the hetero men are the ones with the issues.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  61. Scotty Patrick

    SO – JB NYC – Exactly how many years have you served in the military to protect this country? I'M BETTING ZERO!!!!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  62. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    Almost 20 years ago, the Pentagon asked for DADT because they were losing too many good people who happened to be homosexual. This was a stop-gap measure to help these people stay in the military and defend our country. It was meant to appease those who are afraid of homosexuals, since technically the military would not know who they are.

    That was a generation ago, and now it is time to go to the next step, which is to allow openly homosexual people to serve, because the only thing immoral about homosexuality is living a lie.

    By the way, not all Christians think homosexuality is immoral. It is just the way some people were created. According to Jesus, we are all equally in the eyes of God, without qualification. That means regardless of race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, handicap, or any other reason. Most 'Christians' just can't figure that out.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  63. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    Gay men are not sex-crazed monsters.

    I managed to get through gym in high school and college and at the YMCA with nary an incident. In those days, we called it "custody of the eyes."

    *I* am mystified as to why *anyone* would want to serve a country that treats them as second-class citizens.

    To those who say that those who have not served have no right to criticize: that's not the way it works.

    Our military is under CIVILIAN control ... the Commander-in-Chief is a CIVILIAN; the CONGRESS can amend the UCMJ; CONGRESS is made up of CIVILIANS.

    You answer to US; we do NOT answer to YOU.

    There is no substantive difference between discriminating against African-Americans or women or Hispanics or Asians or immigrants and discriminating against gay and lesbian people.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  64. Caitlin

    The LT broke the rules, he pays the consequences. That is how most things work (except for some politicos who don't have to pay taxes...but that's another story).

    That said, the rule is unjust. You have soldiers with blatant pictures of their girlfriends, wives, "penpals," and playmates – how is this not being OPENLY HETEROSEXUAL? It's my understanding that ANY sexual conduct while on ACTIVE duty is considered breaking the rules – why focus just on gays and lesbians?

    They are not, "just 10%" or like a previous post "2-3%" of the population, studies show homosexuality is more likely to be 25-30% but because of the stigma, most aren't open. Being open with your sexuality does not mean flaunting it.

    How many of you talk about your wife/husband at work? how is that any different than talking about your partner?

    Perhaps if our society can get over their own sexual insecurities, we can move forward. It's 2009! Why are we still living the the pent up, closeted sexual confinement of the Victorian age?

    Also, to the bible freaks, how many of you vary your positions in bed? hmm? the bible only condones missionary, how many have been hit from behind – and still throw the first stone?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  65. Zach in Chicago

    Kind of funny how straight guys think that every gay guy is gonna hit on them...seriously? You're not all that

    May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  66. Sharon

    I don't agree with gay rights; however, it was wrong for the military to kick him out based on his orientation. You don't mistreat person's because they choose to be gay, but you don't condone this behavior either.

    Maybe those who were responsible for letting him go are gay.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  67. dave

    i am pro gay rights, but the military isnt a private company. order and discipline is mandatory or people die. not everyone accepts a gay commander or battle buddy. that wont change. dont ask... dont tell. its a good policy. this guy chose to go on tv and announce his gayness. he chose to rock the boat.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  68. Fred B

    I think it is funny how people think that there would need to be 4 of everything because this would create groups of straight male, straight females, gay males, and gay females. These groups of people are out there in the real world all ready and they don't have special bathrooms or housing. There also in the millitary showers all ready. Really those measures would be a step backwards for tollerance. It is about tollerance something lots of us have to work on.

    One instance the gays are shown as being fairies and not able to do a combat job. Then the next straights want to say they are affraid of gays. NOT a rational fear.

    Why should we allow intolleracne in any shape or form. Even if the millitary is for the poor and uneducated why should we allow these views to foster any longer. Why should the views be sheltered in a goverment branch. Everyone should be educated no matter what cards they started with in life. America has always wanted to educate all peoples.

    Then there are people that say "Gay Agenda" what do they mean by this? Is that a group of people asking for the same rights as straights? Are they trying to make you gay? (Don't they say your born that way?) What is truely at stake for straights to allow the same rights to gays? You just dont like it...

    May 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  69. SM

    When you raise your hand to serve, they specifically ask if you understand the don't ask don't tell policy. It is not about who he is, he lied in the beginning. I have nothing against homosexuality, and I commend him for comming out. However, he knew there would be repricussions for his actions when he chose to come out. It is like doing drugs and being shocked when you fail a drug test and get kicked out!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  70. Bill

    Service members who can't deal with gays in their foxholes: time to consider another career. We may not see this policy ended this month, or even this year- but this policy is going down, and sooner than later.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  71. FLboy

    Way to go military!!! I am sick of being called homophobic because I think homosexuality is a crime against nature. Let's try heterophobic – people afraid to be normal.

    This is just another left wing liberal point of view that is being crammed down mainstream peoples throats.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  72. brett

    As an active duty Air Force officer (since 99) I am embarrased by this policy. More so, though, I am embarrased by the fact that I really feel that there are so many bigoted religious fundamentalists in the services that it really may be safer for the homosexuals to stay quiet. I'd rather lose the bigoted idiots, but then we'd REALLY have a troop problem.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  73. E Brown

    As a wealthy person, I would rather have someone else fight my wars while I stay in the comfort of my own country. Let someone else do the dying oversears. So, gays...let someone else do the dying for our country. We can protect the nation from aggressors here at home!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  74. Dave Bruckenstein

    Lucky are those of us who by shear accident of birth conform to the rules set by those who fear what is not them. No one should pay a penalty for deviating from norms others would impose. I see progress, but it is too slow for those already suffering a lifetime of being marginalized. Peace begins at home by accepting diversity. Only then can we go out and judge others.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  75. Jenny Nichols

    I served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam and can tell you without a doubt I served with gay women. Did it affect me or my fellow officers? Absolutely not!! These women served proudly and were fine officer examples. This ruling is utterly ridiculous

    May 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  76. Dave

    I served in the military, and knew many gays who were wonderful service members, and over all wonderfull people to serve with, but they denied their sexual orientation, stayed at home instead of going out, all for fears of being caught in a "homosexual" act with the person they are with, or love. Its pathetic, I got out of the military after 8 years not because of the dont ask dont tell policy, I am happily married, but the backstabbing, "you are only a number" attitude has towards services memebers is pathetic. I knew more "strait" people who were wastes of the militarys money because they were dirtbags than I knew gays, and if the military wants to kick out all gay service members, despite their knowledge or skills, I think they deserve the lack of respect from other countrys that they get. I do not think sexual orientation has anything to do with ones patriotism and willingness to serve. I would proudly serve next to a gay man or woman who will have my back, and strive to be excellent versus a strait one who will not.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  77. Marie

    Jim – I served for 4 years and watched my best friend be literally tormented because she was a lesbian! And it was mostly the men doing the tormenting. None of the other heterosexual female soldiers felt comfortable being around her alone! This crap does exist. It as nothing to do with age. We were 22 at the time! Young people are homophobic too! Check you facts!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  78. evan thomas

    How dare you treat us as second class citizens!! The last thing we will EVER do is roll over and play dead in this world. It is as much OURS as it is yours. I promise you, we will eventually have equal rights. Why? Because we are NOT GOING AWAY! More and more of us are born every day! We will NEVER give up this fight for equality. NEVER!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  79. Patrick

    All of you posters who are lambasting Choi for 'not following the rules' are conveniently forgetting how much the military itself is NOT FOLLOWING THIS RULE. DADT enforcement is inconsistent at best. And, frankly, was entirely suspended under the military's own stop-loss program for a short period of time (see that? The military chose to ignore the Commander' in cheif's order). Meh.... more discrimination. Here's something that none of the active duty posters here are going to admit, but they all know: While there's not a lot of coming out going on the in the military, there is a lot of gay sex happening there. Spend 2 months out on an aircraft carrier with your antenna up and you can't miss it.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  80. Jim

    The policy is, what the policy is....If you know that your conduct will be prosoctued and you continue that conduct, why are you suprised? Wait for the policy to change, or go through the proper channels to elicit that change.
    Why is this such a big story? Do we nail all of the dope smokers to the wall? I know that this is not quite the same thing, but there are some similarites to the arguement.
    On a side note, if you have no basis for knowledge of the military and its unique requirements, then get educated or talk to someome who is in the situation.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  81. jfj

    Don't be gay!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  82. Lisa

    How interesting that this news comes at the same time as the news that Steve Green is facing the death penalty for raping a 14 yr old girl and then killing her and her family while he served in Iraq. So Mr. Green is "moral" enough to serve, but Mr. Choi is not? I certainly don't get it. I thought it was our goal to have the best military in the world, not the straightest.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  83. mike

    JD, Well put! The civilians will never get it though.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  84. cahny

    DADT – joke or illegal? If gays cannot serve in the military the academies should be prohibited from accepting them as students. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars educating them if it is against the law for them to serve? But, if these institutions extended this policy to academy admissions – would it be legal? Don't think so.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  85. racy is an idiot

    Just because something is a rule, DOES NOT MEAN IT IS A GOOD RULE. We live in 2009. This DADT rule is so terribly outdated, Im embarresed to be an American. This is supposed to be a country that is on the cutting edge of decency to its people. All you homophobes, get the hell over yourself. I love how you people automatically assume every gay wants your biggot ass. I bet you people think every girl wants you too...just pathetic. But hey, lets keep sending psychopaths over there to rape, pillage, and murder civilians. They really makes the American image over there look really good. Congrats America.

    "MISSON ACCOMPLISHED" -George W.(aste) Bush

    May 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  86. Truth

    A few postings have praised the military for honoring its code of conduct policies. One went so far to suggest that the military holds to a higher standard than the civilian world by doing so. Our military prides itself in Truth and Honor. Imagine, one being true to himself and his comrades. Hmmm...the irony of it all.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  87. Slash

    If the military is more afraid of homosexuals in their ranks than bullets and bombs...

    Well, then, they're a bunch of cowards. Simple as that. Throw the complainers out for lacking the courage to defend the personal freedom that this country stands for. When it comes to this country's security, I'll take the vitally-needed translator and well-rounded gay soldier over a thousand cowardly bigots.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  88. N

    look –

    some people just don't get it. Pres clintons "don't ask don't tell" was a huge step forward for homosexuality in the military. Pres Obama's term has just started; you can't expect him to change that into open homosexuality in the military just like that. The guy is taking a lot of heat for the changes he's "snuck through" already. It'd be political suicide for him to do everything at once. So the people that are slamming these presidents for not doing enough are forgetting that these presidents are their greatest allies.

    I am saying that as someone who completely disagrees with allowing open homosexuality in the military, and as someone who didn't vote for either of those jokers.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  89. Billy

    I'm gay but have not been made aware of the "gay agenda". Please, someone tell me what my agenda is, because apparently they left it out of the handbook when I "choose" to "become" gay.

    For those of you opposing me because I'm "unnatural", then I presume you have never engaged in any sexual activity other than intercourse with the intent of becoming pregnant. That's right, no mutual masterbation, oral or anal sex.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  90. Jones

    ActiveDuty – "I make my own choices in life, to include being heterosexual."

    So Active, when exactly did you make that choice? When did you examine both genders and your sexual chemistry with both of them thoroughly and decide "You know, I think I like the other gender more"? Something tells me you never made the choice to be heterosexual, you just simply were... much like the rest of us heterosexuals and much like my sister who never chose to like women.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  91. amazed@thesecomments

    Everyone should read the promise that Lt Choi made when joining. He agreed to uphold all the standards, like it or not. He then decides to make a political statement. He knew the risks involved before he made his decision. This is just business as usual. The military can't ignore the rules or chaos and confusion will erupt. People are taking this way too personal. But when we are sworn in to give testimony in court, if we are found to be making false statements, we are held in contempt and fined. It doesn't matter what our motives are. He has made his point very clearly, and now he must pay the price for doing so. Simple. As far as the rule goes, the military did not make the rule so why are they being insulted for it?

    May 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  92. Steven

    I had a friend (female) who was discharged because she was caught kissing a girl on her OFF TIME. The policy states "Don't ask, don't tell". She was asked and according to the "high morals" of the armed forces, did not feel that she could lie about it. What I don't understand is the hypocritcal nature of the policy...she also fought in the first Gulf War. Seems that this country needs to realize that all Americans should have equal rights!

    And to comment on a post by paul wisconsin about all gays going back into the closet...shut the #### up! Closets are for clothes...not people!

    May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  93. gramps1941

    As a 30 year veteran of the active Navy, before dont ask dont tell, I can tell you that a homosexual male in a berthing compartment is a detriment to morale. Despite the noise made by the homosexual community about 'normalcy' and'genetic' the fact remains that a large majority of heterosexual males are at best uncomfortable with active homosexual men and many of us still think male homosexual activity is something we are not comfortable with. Many will not admit it because of the PC environment in the workplace but it is true. It is not even based on religion, altho in some cases it is, it is based on a gut instinct that the activity of male/male sex is repulsive.
    I digress. Don't ask dont tell needs to be repealed and the United States Military needs to go back to a no tolerance policy for homosexual activity.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  94. mike

    When morals and virtue leave this country, the democracy created here is doomed. Religion, any religion, helps one define those morals and virtues needed for the citizens to retain control of thier form of Gov.
    Just look at the morals and virtues of our elected representatives. nuff said.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  95. Sara in Chicago

    Homosexuals have ruined the Catholic Church.
    Let us not repeat this mistake by letting homosexuals
    permeate the last sound vestige of our government.

    Liberals...leave the military alone...

    May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  96. Shawn

    The DoD policy on homosexuality is pretty clear cut. They do not prosecute because a person is homosexual. They prosecute because a person either commits an act, exhibits in language or behavior homosexual tendencies, or commits to a marriage with a person of the same sex. He chose to speak out which violates the policy.
    Would you have a problem if the guy violated any other policy in the armed forces and was discharged? What if he wrote checks with insufficient funds? Would you complain then? Probably not.

    His decision to come out publicly was his decision. The military has every right to enforce a policy whether it's popular or not. If you read enough about the matter you will find that if he had kept his mouth shut he'd still be in the military. It is commendable that he wanted to stay in. But to feel this was a "slap in the face" goes to show his ignorance in the matter. The military receives briefings on this kind of thing. That he chose to ignore it is his problem. Being in the military does not automatically excuse you from your moral or ethical obligations.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  97. Terri

    Ridiculous.

    Everyone complaining that the reason that gays and lesbians should be kicked out of the military is that come shower time its an "All you can see buffet" are out of their minds. Are you people really serious?

    How does being black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight affect a person's ability to learn new skills or perform tasks?

    A person's race, religion and sexual orientation are not defining characteristics of his/her ability to defend the country he/she live in.

    Land of the free and home of the brave?
    -–This ideal is for all Americans, not just select groups.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  98. Jo-nita

    I wonder how many men and women have died in Iraq who were gay,I wonder how many died in 2 World Wars how many gay Americans died for their Country but the one thing We do know is when they died next to a straight soldier who also died in battle...There blood ran red,the blood was the same.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  99. Bill

    Has the British Army collapsed because they allowed in gays? Has the Canadian Military disintegrated? Have the Israeli soldiers lost hope and quit? The Dutch? The French? Are we so much more backward than the rest of the western world? As that great conservative Barry Goldwater said, it's not important that a soldier IS straight so long as he can shoot straight.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  100. mike

    I would also point out, that if you have never served in the military than your belief or opinion does not carry any weight.

    May 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
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