Congrats, Dan Choi!

Dan Choi is a former infantry officer in the United States Army.  He’s a West Point graduate, he served in combat in Iraq (2006-2007), he’s fluent in Arabic and has a degree in environmental engineering.

Oh yeah, and he’s gay.  He was discharged from the Army in 2009 for violating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

DADT is very, very close to being repealed and we as a nation are very, very, very close to allowing openly gay men and women to enlist and serve in the United States military.

From Adam Levine, CNN
October 19, 2010 4:05 p.m. EDT

Washington (CNN) — The Pentagon has advised recruiting commands that they can accept openly gay and lesbian recruit candidates, given the recent federal court decision that bars the military from expelling openly gay service members, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The guidance from the Personnel and Readiness office was sent to recruiting commands on Friday, according to spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

The recruiters were told that if a candidate admits he or she is openly gay, and qualify under normal recruiting guidelines, their application can be processed. Recruiters are not allowed to ask candidates if they are gay as part of the application process.

The notice also reminded recruiters that they have to “manage expectations” of applicants by informing them that a reversal of the court decision might occur, whereby the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy could be reinstated, Smith said.

Later Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips in California denied the government’s request for an emergency stay of her order barring the military from enforcing its ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly. The government is now expected to go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Groups representing gays and lesbians have warned against coming out to the military because the policy is still being appealed in courts.

Today, Dan Choi re-enlisted in the Army.

This is a well-editted video of Dan Choi’s experience down at the recruiting office in NY Times Square (it’s only 4:10 vs. the 8:44 that is going around). It’s over at the Maddow Blog – clicking on the image below will take you to the original blog post and video.

Congratulations, Dan Choi!  I’m glad to have you back, and grateful for your activism that has helped bring us to this point.

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