Lt. Dan Choi says he's not impressed
with Defense Secretary Robert Gate's tightening of the “don't ask,
don't tell” policy that forbids gay troops from serving openly.
Speaking to the New York Daily News,
Choi said the overhaul didn't go far enough.
“The reason why 'don't ask, don't
tell' is so repugnant is because it forces people to be in the closet
and lie, and that hasn't changed,” Choi said. “The real price of
'don't ask, don't tell' is that it institutionalizes shame.”
Gates has described the new policy as a
more “humane” approach.
Under the guidelines, put in place
Thursday, only a general or admiral can approve the firing of
enlisted personnel who violate the ban, an anonymous complaint will
no longer open an investigation into the sexual orientation of
service members and third party testimony would be required to be
made under oath.
Choi, a twenty-nine-year-old Iraq war
veteran, outed himself last year on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow
Show. The Army responded with an official discharge, which Choi
Two weeks ago, Choi and Capt. James E.
Pietrangelo, who was discharged under “don't ask, don't tell” in
2004, were arrested by Park Police after the men handcuffed
themselves to the White House fence. A third activist, Robin
McGehee, was also hauled away.
Both men spent the night in jail. The
following day, the pair pleaded not guilty in DC Superior Court to
the charge of failing to obey an officer. The court has scheduled an
April 26 hearing.
“Even though I had chains on, there
was no greater liberation than to be able stand up for something that
you knew that was so absolutely correct,” Choi told the paper.
Choi said he would continue to speak
out against “don't ask, don't tell” despite its tweaks.
“You're forcing servicemen and women
to live a double life,” he said. “It outlaws having a full,