Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who's that Queer?

Brought to you by Pistol Pete

Lt. Daniel Choi is a West Point graduate, Iraq War vet, National Guard platoon leader and Arabic-speaking linguist is the first solider to be discharged under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy by the Obama Administration. Choi is a founding member of Knights Out, an organization of out LGBT West Point Alumni.

Choi grew up in Orange County, CA, where his father is a Baptist pastor. After graduating from West Point in 2003, Choi served an extended combat deployment in Iraq. In March 2009, Choi came out of the closet along with 38 West Point graduates with an offer to help the military recognize the contributions of gay military members. During the same time, he was featured on the Rachel Maddow Show talking about his choice to test this new administration's commitment to repealing DADT, and appeared again in early May after receiving his discharge.

A new study, about to be published by a group of experts in military law, shows that President Obama does, in fact, have statutory, stroke-of-the-pen authority to suspend gay discharges. Obama could simply invoke his authority under federal law (10 U.S.C. §12305) to retain any member of the military he believes is essential to national security. He could take advantage of a legal loophole. The "don't ask, don't tell" law requires the military to fire anyone found to be gay or lesbian. But there is nothing requiring the military to make such a finding. The president can order the military to stop investigating service members' sexuality.

Sources: Huffington Post, The Advocate, PR Newswire

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