The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed the
discharge of an airman for violating “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the
1993 law that bars gay and bisexual troops from serving openly, the
It is the first firing since President
Barack Obama in December signed legislation aimed at repealing the
Pentagon officials said the separation
occurred on April 29, but refused to elaborate on the details of the
case or the airman's gender. The term “airman” can be used for
both men and women.
“The airman in the case asked to be
separated expeditiously,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician
said, suggesting the service member outed himself or herself.
The case is also the first since
Secretary Robert Gates issued new guidelines making it more difficult
for a service member to be booted out of the military for being gay.
Prior to October 2010, a DADT-related discharge required only the
authorization of a one-star general. The new policy states that only
the secretaries of the armed forces can authorize a separation under
the law, and the Defense Department's top attorney and Clifford
Stanley, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness,
must also be consulted, leaving the policy in the hands of six
civilians appointed by the president.
Repeal of the law won't happen until 60
days after the military is certified as prepared for the change.
Military officials testifying before Congress have previously
suggested that might happened by the end of summer.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), said the case highlights
the need for swift certification.
“Though unfortunate, this discharge
highlights the need for certification this month, and in fact, does
nothing to diminish our concern that service members remain under
investigation and are at risk of being discharged. At SLDN, we have
clients facing administrative board hearings right now. Some of
these clients have 10 to 18 years of military service and are not
looking to be separated under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' In fact, they
are fighting these investigations and board proceedings today. It’s
critical that certification happen in the month of June,” he said
in a statement.