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Ousted Gay Service Members Rejoining the Military


Former Army Lieutenant Daniel Choi was back at the recruiting office in New York City Wednesday finishing his application to re-enlist in the Army.

“I want to serve,” Choi said.

Choi, who is openly gay, made headlines back in July for challenging the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and subsequently being discharged from the Army. Now, one month after a federal judge ruled the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy unconstitutional, the military is accepting openly gay applicants.

“Be able to live in truth. I think that’s really what happened when the judge said this law is unconstitutional,” said Choi.

Choi is just one of several gay former military members now re-enlisting. But attorney Michael Macomber from the Tully Rinckey law firm warns about those applicants being too honest, too soon.

“Until we see some sort of final resolution, service members need to err on the side of caution because if it gets overturned, those policies are still in place and they could get separated almost immediately,” said Macomber.

Macomber is advising his clients right now to protect themselves.

“As of right now all the branches of the military are saying the injunction is in place and we will no longer separate somebody based on that policy. But if that gets overturned, that is somewhat of a gray area,” Macomber said.

As it stands now, recruiters cannot ask a candidate if they are gay. However, if an applicant discloses that information, recruiters are instructed to issue a reminder that a reversal of the court decision could mean “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be reinstated.

“It’s about serving and contributing to a greater good and being part of a team and something that is greater than yourself,” Choi said.

 

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