Lt Dan Choi ends hunger strike over gay soldiers
Lt Dan Choi has ended the hunger strike he began seven days ago to protest over the US ban on out gay soldiers.
The gay rights activist began the fast on May 27th with Capt Jim Pietrangelo over what they saw as unacceptable compromises in the repeal effort.
But they abandoned the protest yesterday evening after supporters voice fears for their health.
Lt Choi, who is still going through discharge proceedings after coming out on television last year, said the fast had been a success because people have been “educated to the use of fasting as a tool to bring attention to a set of clear political and social demands”.
He said it would be resumed in the coming weeks and hinted that the pair had not taken the correct safety precautions when planning the action.
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Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House voted to let the military end the policy once a Pentagon study on the issue is completed on December 1st.
The pair began their fast with demands to end the Pentagon’s review; end gay firings and insert a non-discrimination policy into military code.
President Barack Obama has promised to repeal the law but has been criticised for not acting quickly enough.
Dan Choi’s statement in full:
“The fast of the past seven days has been a success because people have been educated to the use of fasting as a tool to bring attention to a set of clear political and social demands.
“Tonight, we will end the fast knowing that the inadequacies of the ‘compromise’ to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are well known.
“Our quest to end the discharges, stop the insulting study, and institute a non-discrimination policy is not over. In the coming weeks, we will prepare to resume our fast and will provide many ways for those who believe in uncompromising justice to join us.
“On a personal note, we have learned a great deal about the proper planning involved in fasting. We appreciate the concerns that many have expressed. When this fast is resumed, we will be using the proper safeguards to ensure our health is properly attended to. Everyone that considers fasting for an extended period of time must also take proper precautions.”