Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pres. Obama, Don't Fire Dan (or anyone else)

The Courage Campaign, more famous for its work in California especially after the passage of Proposition 8, has begun an online petition to Obama asking him to stop the firing of LGBT soldiers, a cause that has recently been made famous thanks to Lt. Dan Choi's personal outing on the Rachel Maddow Show:

Lt. Dan Choi, from Orange County, California, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last March he went on Rachel Maddow's show and spoke three truthful words: "I am gay."

As a result Lt. Choi received a letter from the Army on April 23 discharging him for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He told Rachel Maddow the letter was "a slap in the face" to himself and the soldiers he as commanded and served with over the past decade.

Lt. Choi is fighting to stay in the military and ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The Courage Campaign and CREDO Mobile are joining his effort to secure equality in our armed forces.

President Obama did not create this policy. But he now has the opportunity to keep his promise and allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in the military. It's the right thing to do -- for justice and for national security.
There has been some speculation that the President, unable to end the policy due to a need for Congressional action, may be able to suspend the discharges pending administrative review... an action he as yet refuses to take. So far, over 130,000 individuals have signed the petition -- including yours truly.

I think, probably per his plan, Lt. Choi has become the lightning rod necessary to draw national attention and activism to this outdated policy and Obama's ongoing silence on the issue. And to those saying there is a process that has to happen ... at some point, the process has to go away in favor of the rights and livelihoods of the individuals that process is supposed to protect.

In other DADT news, an 18 year veteran of the Air Force (Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach) is also being discharged for his sexual orientation, while another Air Force major's lawsuit is moving forward against the military's policy -- which may force the US Government to lay out the reasons why it finds LGBT soldiers so harmful to service.

I think that's a court case I would like to see.

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