More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
UPDATE: Military Board Recommends Dismissal of Lt. Dan Choi
On Tuesday, a military administrative board recommended that Lt. Dan Choi – Iraq war veteran, Arabic linguist, and member of the LGBT service member’s organization Knights Out – be discharged from the National Guard under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The panel of military administrators heard Choi’s testimony and, after four hours of deliberation, submitted their recommendation.
Lt. Choi became one of the leading advocates for the repeal of DADT after coming out in March in the Army Times newspaper and on The Rachel Maddow Show.
In a statement to MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Lt. Choi responded to the decision saying, “I’m disappointed but I need to send a message to my soldiers that if you get knocked down, get yourself back up and keep fighting. What kind of officer or leader would I be if I gave up?”
Lt. Choi’s case now goes to the First Army commander and the chief of the National Guard Bureau for review. If discharged, Lt. Choi will become the 266th service member to be dismissed under DADT since President Obama took office in January 2009.
News of Lt. Choi’s dismissal comes after a slew of media coverage of DADT in the past week:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a statement indicating that he wants to make the implementation of DADT "more humane" until Congress can address its possible repeal. Secretary Gates stated he has lawyers studying ways the law might be "selectively enforced."
The White House also issued this response to a question regarding the timetable for the repeal of the policy:
Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach appeared on Tuesday’s CNN Newsroom to discuss his own pending dismissal. The 19-year veteran spoke with President Obama at this week’s White House reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. Although the Lt. Col. was hopeful for President Obama’s movement on DADT, he did not appear as hopeful for his own pending case:
“I think that I may end up being discharged at the end of the day, but if the law’s repealed, then that’s—that’s for the greater good. I hope that, if it is repealed, then maybe I can come right back in the military and finish out my career.”
On Monday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd interviewed openly gay Rep. Jared Polis of Colo. During the interview, Rep. Polis voiced his support for the repeal of DADT saying:
"Really, the only area where I have seen any disagreement over this is under the Capital dome. I think we need to make a lot of progress on that. The American people and the military are more than ready."
Keith Olbermann brought on writer and LGBT advocate Dan Savage on Countdown to discuss President Obama's addressing of DADT during the White House reception in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Savage brought up the interesting comparison between Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's suspension of the "widower's penalty" - a policy which requires the deportation of non-citizen widowers of U.S. citizens - to the reluctance of the Obama administration to halt DADT dismissals. Savage sarcastically joked, "[Napolitano] seems to have authorities and powers that the President, her boss, Commander-in-Chief does not."
We'll keep you updated as Lt. Choi's case progresses.