Update: Iraq war veteran Army Lt. Dan Choi has been honorably discharged, nearly a year and a half after he came out on “The Rachael Maddow Show” to fight for a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy, the outdated law that bans openly gay and lesbian service members. After the outspoken critic of DADT learned of his discharge, he told CNN: “This is both an infuriating and painful announcement … 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 honor of the uniform and insults the meaning of America.”
Charges were dropped this week against Army Lt. Dan Choi—an openly gay Iraq-war veteran whose discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT) is pending—and discharged Capt. James Pietrangelo for handcuffing themselves to the White House gate in May and April.
“We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” said Choi.
The antiquated DADT policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members, while requiring the discharge of those who are open.
Although the two men pleaded not guilty in D.C. Superior Court, they were facing charges of failing to obey police orders. But on Wednesday the Justice Department prosecutor dropped all charges, Choi told The Associated Press, because the Obama administration doesn’t want to draw attention to the policy while repeal is under consideration.
“[The administration] is incompetent with dealing with civil rights, and that is the most frustrating. Obviously, I respect my commander in chief and I’ll carry out what he requires,” Choi told Advocate.com. “But they don’t know how to do what needs to be done.”
Meanwhile, Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States of America, thelongstanding lawsuit challenging DADT, went to trial this week with testimony from two service members impacted by the policy. Lawyers for the group are seeking a federal injunction to immediately halt DADT.
Since 1994, more than 13,500 service members have been discharged under DADT.