Dan Choi | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Rachel Maddow

National Guard Lt. Dan Choi Discharged from the Army Under DADT

Choi

National Guard First Lieutenant Dan Choi of Knights Out, the group of 38 West Point graduates who came out of the closet in March to form a support group for US Military Academy active duty alumni, cadets, and their families, is being discharged from the Army for saying he is gay on Rachel Maddow's show.

On Maddow's show in March, Choi suggested that could be a consequence, and the military specifically mentioned the appearance in their letter to Choi, saying that it "constituted homosexual conduct."

Choi will be appearing on Maddow's show tonight.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. God forbid we have intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, and respectful men in the military. Only ex-cons need apply, apparently.

    Posted by: taodon | May 7, 2009 8:40:20 AM


  2. What a disgrace for our Nation to condemn good deserving people. We are no better than the Taliban when we treat our own this way.

    Posted by: Rafael | May 7, 2009 8:58:23 AM


  3. The worst part in all this? The fact that someone out there was sitting there, watching, seething... and that someone had enough power to actively discriminate against Lt. Choi and get him discharged from serving his country.

    Don't Ask Don't Tell isn't dusty and non-consequential. It's a venomous weapon that is very much alive and deadly.

    And how the fuck is saying "I'm Gay" constituting homosexual conduct?? Utter B.S.

    Posted by: Clarke | May 7, 2009 9:23:20 AM


  4. ""constituted homosexual conduct"

    ^ WTF. idiots

    Posted by: liz templin | May 7, 2009 9:31:11 AM


  5. The problem is that it is still against the law. In some sense the National guard could not ignore this because it was on national TV. No matter how unjust the law might seem, until congress repeals the law, his declaration invalidates him from service. I think that even if the President signed an executive order suspending DADT, he would still have to be discharged because it was a public declaration that he was in violation of the UCMJ. This precisely why the White House HAS to get congress to agree to change the law and cannot do so unilaterally.

    Posted by: Lee Adama | May 7, 2009 9:43:35 AM


  6. I am a straight heterosexual Military officer, I masturbate daily, sometimes at my desk while looking at my female secretary who i flirt with constantly and have had her perform oral sex on me on the sly. I know she finds that awkward (I think she is a lesbian)so if she were to tell then I would simply "out" her as a dyke. Either way i get my nut off daily - oh and i am also married but the wife has no idea about my masturbation and my fixation on my secretary!!
    I know that according to the UCMJ, I am conducting acts that are expressly prohibited but then so do so many others; in fact raping our female soldiers is almost a past time, I mean here in the middle east you can't get any women locally because of the theocratic laws so hitting on the dykes and other women soldiers is the only way to get sex!!****

    **** the above scenario is fictious, but you know it happens, the brass knows it happens, the pentagon knows it happens and the rank and file knows it happens BUT when was the last time you heard of any Active Duty personnel DISCHARGED for any action relative to heterosexual misconduct? Lt. Choi sits on a discussion program and simply SAYS "I am Gay"! and is discharged???? What a fucking way to treat someone who is serving honorably and honestly!!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | May 7, 2009 9:44:29 AM


  7. I have a question about this that maybe a legal eagle could answer. My understanding is that the National Guard was a state militia that could be federalized if needed. Ultimately, though the Guard responds to the orders of the local government through the governor.

    So in a state such as NJ which has an employment non-discrimination law on the books wouldn't it be illegal for LGBT people to be discharged from a state employer or am I completely misreading this?

    Posted by: Ed | May 7, 2009 9:48:27 AM


  8. Moments like this makes me proud of being an American...

    My hope is that the utter bullshittery that is DADT will now receive enough attention due to the Maddow show for it to finally be repealed.

    Posted by: JonLee | May 7, 2009 9:52:55 AM


  9. Ok so saying 'im gay' is homosexual conduct, but giving your bunkmates a 'helping hand', getting drunk and snogging each other and getting blown by Brazilian tranny prostitutes isnt? Seems not since they all know that goes on all the time.

    Posted by: Rovex | May 7, 2009 10:14:56 AM


  10. The Nat. Guard ultimately answers to the feds and must follow the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Until the UCMJ is changed by congress, this BS will happen.
    I am a 20 year veteran and enjoyed the military for the most part. But, I would chuckle out loud if thousands (tens of) gays walked into their respected offices and proclaimed they are gay and stopped working while their discharge papers were typed up.
    Generals would be running to capitol hill begging congress for action.

    Posted by: Mary from Iowa | May 7, 2009 11:50:56 AM


  11. The Hollywood Canteen, that venerable vehicle of patriotism founded by Bette Davis in the 1940s, should be revived. It should be revived for one night, or a series of nights, as a tribute aimed specifically at our service people of LGBT orientation. It should be an event, a celebration, like the recent birthday bash for Pete Seeger. There should be speakers and singers and honors. Country singers in particular should be part of the program, because no other song genre conveys patriotism like Country does. For far too long, the United States has given its LGBT enlisted personnel ostracism, criminalization and stigma as rewards for their distinguished service. It’s time to atone for that transgression with a media event that simultaneously honors them and educates the public about their invaluable contributions to the defense of our nation. We should do this while a significant number of them are still around to appreciate the tribute; many have already gone to their graves having known nothing but bigotry and hatred. We can’t force Barack Obama and the Joint Chiefs to do right by the Dan Chois of this world. However, we can shame the Hell out of them, and make it that much harder for them to justify cruel and discriminatory policies like DADT.

    Don Charles
    Kansas City, Missouri

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | May 7, 2009 11:51:30 AM


  12. They call it an "Executive Order" because it comes from the Executive of the United States, also known as the Commander-in-Chief, the highest "operational" authority over the military, so, no, if HE said "STOP!" they would stop.

    However, Congress can take action to override an Executive Order, including in relation to the military as the Constitution, under Article 1, gives Congress the power to "raise and support the armed forces"—excuses they used to enact DADT.

    As for civilian vs. military discrimination policies/law, without exception, ultimate court rulings have declared the military has the trump card.

    Choi is in the "Army National Guard of the United States" which is federalized by nature. Mary's fantasy of tens of thousands of military gays outing themselves is an appealing one. Unfortunately, for every one who does, thousands don't. And, one of many findings of the 1993 Rand Corporation study that the Pentagon chooses to ignore is that the pattern in countries that have eliminated their ban is that relatively few come out to their superiors/peers even then.

    Discharged simply for saying you're gay? The devil is again in the details. Technically, under DADT, you must be "guilty" of both saying you're gay [or otherwise "known" to be] and commiting or having an intention to commit gay acts. The latter falls under "the propensity clause." The concept existed before DADT but was strengthened to offset legal challenges with an insane Catch 22.

    Once you tell or the military believes you're gay, the assumption is literally that "gay = gay acts" and, under "rebuttable presumption clause" the burden is on you to prove that you DON'T engage in gay acts or "have a propensity to." In other words, you have to prove you might not do something IN THE FUTURE.

    Navy officer Zoe Dunning actually got a military review board to side with her in her contention that the Navy had failed to prove she had/would and readmitted her. But that was a fluke, and, afterward, Judith Miller, general counsel for the Defense Department issued a memo instructing all branches to never be so lenient again. [Perhaps Miller, no longer at Defense, has mellowed: she gave money to defeat Prop H8.]

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 7, 2009 12:04:40 PM


  13. We are friends of Dan Choi here in Orange County, where he lives. We have organized a protest for this afternoon in his name. Can you help us get the word out?
    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs024/1102554956208/archive/1102573438313.html

    Posted by: Laura Kanter | May 7, 2009 12:50:17 PM


  14. We are Dan's friends in Orange County, CA, where he lives. We have organized a protest in his honor. Can you help us spread the word?
    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs024/1102554956208/archive/1102573438313.html

    Posted by: Laura Kanter | May 7, 2009 1:01:02 PM


  15. I applaude Lt.Dan Choi for his service, for making a public stand, and for fighting his dismissal. We need more intelligent, experienced and thoughtful people like Choi in our military.

    Posted by: Alexei | May 7, 2009 9:09:00 PM


  16. Alright...someone please post any info available on a Dan Choi Legal Defense Fund. This has got to make a lot of noise.

    Why is the military leadership making our Country LESS SAFE?

    President Obama, WHERE ARE YOU?

    Posted by: Randy | May 7, 2009 11:13:23 PM


  17. I am a West Point Graduate. This Lieutenant and agenda are not welcome in any public forum discrediting one of the most admirable institutions in our country. What most of you may not know is that you SIGN A PIECE OF PAPER saying you are not. You RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND AND SWEAR that you are not. After you are commissioned as an officer, AGAIN you SIGN A PIECE OF PAPER, and you RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND. The military legalese is quite clear... you would think. Then someone says "Don't Ask Don't Tell". So in this particular case, the superiors may overlook the breach of integrity. The superiors may overlook the falsification of documents and over look the perjury, however, a superior is most certainly forced into a corner and must do his duty when there is clear - PUBLIC (By CHOI's own choice) evidence.
    What he did was wrong. Period. You protect your brothers and sisters you fight with. You honor those who die. Integrity is the only asset you have and Trust is all the currency you use. This former Lieutenant went to battle in the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong tools. You change an organization from within - you RISE in the ranks, and someday when you are in charge of the Army - you change it. Option 2 - you leave the Army on your own - you write letters, emails, phones, and petition your Elected officials to change the LAW. The only thing this guy as so many before him fail to recognize is that by disgracing themselves, they lose any currency to change the policy. He Lied. He Falsified Documents. He Perjured himself. He failed the Honor Code of the Institution he wants to hide behind. For that He is wrong. Does that make the policy wrong? Two very different issues. My best friend just told me after 15 years that he is Gay. I didn't know. I have been in combat with him. We have spent years taking care of each other, stay at each others homes. He is the godfather of my children. He had a long and distinguished military career - and even worked in the White House. He abided by the policy. He earned his retirement. He now fights to change the policy. He still has my Trust and I still respect Him. LT Choi is a punk looking for the limelight and its disgraceful. Please separate the two.
    When I see someone forming a "Legal Defense Fund" - its saddening. Fortunately, the military Judicial system isn't plagued with the pathetic and shameless lawsuits that burden it now. This is done, over. By his own actions, it is pretty much impossible to defend - he clearly broke several military laws. Worse - he violated the Honor Code - Duty, Honor Country, which sadly he never learned. Another example of "The Corps Has..."
    The fact that he tried to drag West Point in this matter is extremely offensive. I don't care what gay people do or don't do. I don't care what straight people do or don't do - NO ONE should have to hear anyone go on TV and talk about it. Thats a matter of courtesy.
    So if you want to further the cause for change - do it the right way. Did the country rally behind Al Capone to help change the Prohibition Laws? No, I think not. This kid is wrong, he broke laws and lied. No - he doesn't go to jail no one is torturing him. He just doesn't understand how to honor a simple contract.

    Posted by: DaveA | May 12, 2009 3:48:58 AM


  18. So Davea, how did your friend get around "swearing to tell the truth" and not bring dishonor? He still shouldnt be discharged until proven guilty. And you have no heart.

    Posted by: Jenna | May 14, 2009 3:59:43 PM


  19. Choi knew what he was doing when he made his announcement on TV and he knew the consequences.

    Like it or not, the official policy of "Don't ask. Don't tell." was in effect when Choi chose to publicly announce that he is a homosexual. Choi chose to violate the policy. Choi must now accept the consequences of his choices.

    That is simply part of civil disobedience.

    However, I have to say that I do have a problem with Choi and others claiming that he and the 37 others were exemplary soldiers. An ideal soldier would not organize this kind of mutiny against his own military over disagreement with a policy that was very prominently in effect long before the soldier ever signed up for service.

    Posted by: Mark | Jun 9, 2009 3:04:00 AM


  20. Mark and Davea, I get what you're saying, but at the same time I feel like Choi's decision to make a fight with the military over his coming out brings a lot more attention to DADT and more civilians supporting banning it. It may not be the honorable thing to do but it's effective.

    Additionally, I think that Choi expected that he would be discharged and is raising as much of a riot over it as possible in order to ban DADT. He has very deliberately dramatized all of his actions over the past couple of months. It looks like people like Dan Choi are taking a leaf out of the NAACP's book and bringing as much press and starting as many trials as possible to the issue of GLBT rights.

    Davea, could you clarify this for me: You implied in your comment that you sign a contract saying you're straight? And that DADT is a 'loophole' for those who aren't? Or did you mean that you sign a document attesting that you will adhere to military policy, including/focusing on DADT?

    Honestly, I think it's great that we can put all these opinions on the table, so to speak.

    Posted by: Amy | Jul 1, 2009 1:04:47 PM


  21. Oh, haha, I just realized how long ago all these dates are--my bad. It's just that I remembered Choi's trial was yesterday so I was googling for news.

    Posted by: Amy | Jul 1, 2009 1:06:52 PM


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