Gay soldier Dan Choi re-enlists in US army
Dan Choi, the out gay soldier who has been at the front of efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, has re-enlisted in the US army.
Lt Choi, who is an Iraq veteran and Arabic linguist, was served with discharge papers in 2009 after coming out on national television.
After a US District Judge ruled that the ban on out gay soldiers should be immediately lifted last week, he went to a military recruitment centre in New York’s Time Square yesterday.
The Pentagon has directed military recruiters to accept applicants who declare they are gay, although these recruits must be warned that the ban’s legal situation may change.
After leaving the centre, Lt Choi told reporters outside that his application had been accepted, pending some medical paperwork.
According to Raw Story, he said: “They didn’t disintegrate in there. The unit cohesion is doing just fine.”
He added: “Able bodied, patriotic Americans, regardless of their orientation, are eligible to come on back and sign up to serve their country, openly, honestly, with integrity, acknowledging their partners, acknowledging their families and their lives as full citizens.
“I encourage everyone else to do that. Being in there today was absolutely exciting and absolutely vindicating.”
Some gay rights groups have warned potential recruits to keep quiet about their sexuality for now, as Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling may be contested by the government at a higher court.
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Lt Choi has become the poster boy for the fight to repeal the 1993 law.
During the summer, he twice chained himself to the White House fence to protest against the ban.
He was arrested on both occasions and refused to pay a fine, which led to a court appearance. He was cleared on charges of failing to comply with a lawful order.
President Obama promised he would repeal the law in his 2008 election campaign.
Under the current law, gay and lesbian soldiers must keep their sexual orientation secret. They can be fired if they, or someone else, reveals it.
A review is underway and expected to end in December, while troops are being surveyed on their views towards lifting the ban.
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