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Amid More Discharges, Obama Promises DADT Repeal

Jim Burroway

May 8th, 2009

Lt. Daniel Choi is a West Point graduate and Iraq vet and an Arabic language specialist. Three qualities that are badly needed in today’s military. He’s also gay. And for that, he was thrown out of the military for “moral and professional dereliction.” His only moral or professional dereliction was to refuse to lie about his sexual orientation. Lt. Choi appeared on Rachael Maddow’s program last night:

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In related news, Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao decided to come out last January, when she wrote a letter to Barack Obama:

I am a Second Lieutenant currently serving in the United States Army. In addition to being an officer, I am a Christian, a woman and a Chinese-American. I am proud of all these identities. Lastly, I am also a homosexual. On December 21, 2007, I was appointed as an army officer. In the oath of office I swore that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Unfortunately, I will not be able to fulfill this oath because the current policy regarding sexual orientation contradicts my values as a moral human being.

Today is Chinese New Year day. I hope it will bring good fortune to you and your newly elected office. Today is also the day I inform my chain of command of who I am. One of the 7 army values is integrity. It means choosing to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be. As a Christian, this also means living an honest life. I cannot live up to this value unless my workplace ‘provides an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior’. [ Excerpt from the U.S. Army's Equal Opportunity Branch ( EO ) Mission Statement. ]

We have the best military in the world and I would like to continue to be part of it. My mother can tell you it is my dream to serve our country. I have fought and overcome many barriers to arrive at the point I am at today. This is the only battle I fear I may lose. Even if it is too late for me, I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice so that future generations will continue to work together and fight for our freedoms regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

Respectfully, Sandy Tsao, 2LT, MP.

Pres. Obama responded with a personal handwritten note addressed to Tsao:

Sandy –

Thanks for the wonderful and thoughtful letter. It is because of outstanding Americans like you that I committed to changing our current policy. Although it will take some time to complete (partly because it needs Congressional action) I intend to fulfill my commitment!

Barack Obama

Tsao’s last day in the service will be May 19, 2009.

Comments

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Trevor
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps Obama is waiting until the Al Franken situation is resolved before he attempts to move ahead with more “controversial” policy changes. That would be shrewd politics to say the least. He probably does not want a repeat of the DADT debacle under Bubba and wants to preempt Republican grand-standing with a filibuster proof majority.

Christopher Waldrop
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

I think he may be waiting a bit longer than that. At the very least he may wait until after the 2010 elections to avoid a repeat of the 1993 debacle that resulted in DADT in the first place. Republicans are eager to win seats back, and the repeal of of DADT could give them a rallying point. Right now the focus is on the economy where Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on because for years they’ve focused on social and religious “conservatives” while ignoring the economy.

If DADT is repealed, imagine the Republican commercials. With ominous music in the background a bass baritone voice will say, “Activist judges have let them marry in the nation’s heartland. Now they’re allowed to serve in our nation’s military. Vote Republican to stop the tide sweeping our country.”

Would it work? Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t, but I’m copyrighting that commercial idea, and will donate any money I get from it to the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, and any organization working for marriage equality, and/or the campaign against the election/re-election of any politician that uses it.

KipEsquire
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

“Obama Promises DADT Repeal”

Obama said he is “committed” to ending DADT; he did not “promise” it.

Compare: I may be “committed” to having a 28-inch waist; but I am not “promising” it anytime soon.

I expect much the same outcome here.

Anti-hypocrite
May 9th, 2009 | LINK

Another case of Obama behaving identically to Bush, while all those who damned Bush just make excuses for him.

So we wait for 2010. And then…? Like there won’t be more elections in 2012?

Priya Lynn
May 9th, 2009 | LINK

Obama signed the U.N. declaration calling for the decriminalization of gayness Bush didn’t. Obama has encouraged the passage of the hate crimes law, Bush promised to veto it. Bush pushed for a federal constitutional amendment to ban gays from marriage, Obama has opposed such a constitution.

You’re another case of someone turning a blind eye to Bush’s anti-gay acts to falsely claim Obama’s no better – he is.

Anti-hypocrite
May 10th, 2009 | LINK

You’re right, Priya – Obama’s not identical to Bush. He’s a lot better at fooling the gay sheep with meaningless gestures like pointless UN resolutions and opposing an amendment that’s no longer under consideration and won’t be in the foreseeable future.

Sadly, you have nothing concrete to point to. Get back to me when our “fierce advocate” decides to live up to his promises on DOMA and DADT.

Priya Lynn
May 10th, 2009 | LINK

The UN resolution is an important indicator of the postion the U.S. government is taking, it is a valuable step. The amendment is no longer under consideration and won’t be in the forseeable future precisely because Bush is not president. And of course you don’t want to even mention the hate crimes bill which Bush promised to veto and which Obama will sign. Gays like you love to shoot yourself in the foot by voting for people that hate you and seek to strip you of rights. You’ll always be in denial of reality – you have to be to be a Bush instead of an Obama supporter.

Eddie89
May 10th, 2009 | LINK

With all things said and done, I prefer Obama over McCain.

Yes, I wish Obama would do more for the LGBT community, but at least he’s not virulently anti-gay like Bush was and McCain would have been.

I’m not giving him a total pass, just saying that things could be much, much worse.

Like having a Republican in office and hear him advocate against marriage equality in Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York.

So in that sense, the atmosphere from the executive office is much more LGBT friendly than it has been for the past eight years.

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