Lt. Dan Choi, one of the most outspoken
opponents of the military's ban on open gay service, has returned to
The news that Choi had rejoined his New
York Army National Guard unit was first published Tuesday by gay blog
Last year, the Army fired Choi after
the former Iraq veteran appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show
to promote Knights Out, the nascent West Point graduate group that
lobbies for repeal of the policy. A formal discharge notification
came 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.
Choi appealed the decision. While the
Army has yet to rule on the issue, Choi's return to active duty can
be interpreted as a positive sign that the military would like to
keep its high-profile Arabic linguist.
In recent months, the Pentagon has
suggested it would consider altering implementation of the law,
widely known as “don't ask, don't tell.”
“We believe that we have a degree of
latitude within the existing law to change our internal procedures in
a manner that is more appropriate and fair to our men and women in
uniform,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently testified at a
key Senate panel studying repeal.
Whether Gates' “fairer” policy
includes allowing the public admission of being gay on national
television, however, remains to be seen.