Lieutenant Dan Choi's fight to remain
in the Army National Guard faced a serious setback Tuesday when a
military panel recommended that he should be discharged for publicly
announcing he's gay, the AP reported.
The four member panel known as the
Federal Recognition Board deliberated four hours before handing down
The Army fired Choi in May after the
Iraq veteran appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show to promote
Knights Out, the nascent West Point graduate group that lobbies
against the military's ban on open gay service.
The twenty-eight-year-old received his
discharge notification from the Army National Guard on May 6.
“This is to inform you that
sufficient basis exists to initiate action for withdrawal of federal
recognition in the Army National Guard for moral or professional
dereliction. … Specifically, you admitted publicly that you are a
homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct. … Your actions
negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York
Army National Guard,” the notification states.
On Tuesday, Choi, an Arab linguist,
told the AP the board's recommendation amounted to firing him “for
nothing more than telling the truth about who I am.”
However, the board's recommendation
must be approved by the First Army commander and the chief of the
Nation Guard Bureau. Should they agree with the panel, Choi will be
Candidate Obama promised to repeal
“don't ask, don't tell,” the law that prescribes discharge for
gay and lesbian soldiers who do not remain closeted or celibate,
calling it a “mistake.”
At a White House LGBT reception Monday,
Obama renewed his pledge to repeal the law, but asked for patience,
and said he was duty bound to enforce the law.
“The military has no choice but to
follow it,” New York Army National Guard Spokesman Lt. Col. Paul
Fanning said. “We don't pick and choose what regulations to
While Choi's military discharge has
attracted national attention, he's not alone: The military has
quietly fired 265 gay and lesbian service members under Obama's
watch, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group
that lobbies against “don't ask, don't tell.”