A 3-member Navy panel on Friday voted
against discharging Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado,
a gay sailor who faced ouster from the military for violating “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell.”
Morado told The Fresno Bee that
his lawyer argued that Morado should stay because the policy that
bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly was dead.
Congress approved and President Barack
Obama signed into law a bill last year that ends the ban. But
implementation will not begin until 60 days after the president and
Pentagon leaders agree the military is ready for the change. At a
House hearing on Friday, military
leaders said they expect to implement repeal by summer's end.
Morado was outed as gay in 2009 after
he posted a photo of himself kissing another man on the Internet.
“He was just a friend, not a romantic
interest,” said Morado, who is stationed at Lemoore Naval Air
Station in California.
The military's reasons for not
discharging the 26-year-old sailor won't be made public, a Pentagon
The panel considered evidence and
testimony for several hours before announcing its unanimous decision,
Earlier in the process, Robin McGehee
of the gay rights group GetEQUAL had called the proceeding
“The fact that the Navy is trying to
slide one more discharge in under the wire is disgusting, and must be
called out for what it is – blatant discrimination and bullying,”
she told the paper.