Army discharges critic of 'don't ask' policy

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010

One of the most vocal critics of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been honorably discharged for being in violation of it.

Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Army National Guard first lieutenant, said he learned of the decision on Thursday. "It's painful, mostly -- not that my career is coming to an end, but really that it's been a very difficult year," he said in an interview.

Choi announced that he is gay during a March 2009 interview on MSNBC. He has since served as a leading Pentagon critic.

He has been arrested several times, most recently on Tuesday in Las Vegas at a rally calling for the passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act. In March, he was arrested for handcuffing himself to a White House fence; prosecutors dropped charges against him last week.

The House included a repeal of "don't ask" in its version of the annual defense spending bill. The Senate is expected to do the same.

On Friday, a federal judge in California is scheduled to hear closing arguments in a case brought by the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans that challenges the policy's constitutionality.

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