Army discharges critic of 'don't ask' policy

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010; B03

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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