One of America’s most outspoken critics of the ban on out gay soldiers has been discharged under the law.
Lt Dan Choi, an Iraq veteran, was honourably discharged from the Army National Guard.
He has been expecting his discharge for over a year after coming out on national television. The law, currently under review, bars soldiers from revealing they are gay.
He said in a statement today: “This is both an infuriating and painful announcement. But my service continues. Remaining silent when our family and community members are fired or punished for who they truly are would be an unequivocal moral dereliction that tarnishes the honour of the uniform and insults the meaning of America.”
Lt Choi was recently arrested twice for chaining himself to the White House fence in protest at the policy, although the charges were dropped last week.
He told CNN he was informed of his discharge by his Army National Guard battalion commander, although a National Guard spokesman said it became effective on June 29th.
The soldier graduated from West Point Academy in 2003 and became an infantry platoon leader, completing two tours of Iraq.
He is one of 60 Arabic linguists thought to have been discharged under the 1993 policy, while an estimated 13,500 soldiers in total have been fired for being gay.