October 19, 2010
By Eden James
The AP broke the story a few hours ago:
WASHINGTON – A Pentagon spokeswoman says recruiters have been told that they must accept gay applicants, following a federal court decision striking down the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said Tuesday that top-level guidance has been issued to recruiting commands informing them that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule has been suspended for now. Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium could be reversed at any point.
Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly added some more detail:
The statement provided by Smith in an email to Metro Weekly, and first reported by the Associated Press, comes on the heel of a report in The New York Times that Omar Lopez, who is an out gay man, was turned away at a recruiting station in Texas because of his sexual orientation despite the judge’s injunction resulting from the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States case.
Smith also wrote that “[r]ecruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law/policy may occur.”
The Washington Post adds some background to the events that led up to today’s news:
The guidance issued to military recruits is consistent with the Defense Department’s plans to abide by a federal judge’s injunction on the 17-year ban on gays in the military. The Pentagon advised senior military leaders late last week not to ask service members or military applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat the rank and file with dignity and respect and maintain good order and discipline.
Dan Choi’s response? Time to re-enlist (and test the system, one assumes).
Here’s Dan’s first announcement from his Twitter account account, where he is adding live updates:
“I’m headed to the Times Square Recruiting Station. http://bit.ly/94JZuE #DADT”
Check out a pic of Dan in Times Square here.
UPDATE: Chris Geidner adds an update of his own:
[UPDATE: Perhaps the most interesting bit of information regarding today’s announcement came from The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, who noted, “Pentagon’s general counsel made the decision.” The general counsel is Jeh Johnson. Johnson is the co-chair of the Pentagon working group charged with implementing repeal. Assuming Ambinder’s reporting to be accurate, then the co-chair of the working group made the decision that, with guidance to recruiters, the change in recruiting policy could be made immediately.]
UPDATE: Army just accepted the re-enlistment of Lt. Dan Choi!
BoyCulture has the goods.
Here’s are YouTubes of interviews with Dan in Times Square before and after he reenlisted:
UPDATE: Statement by Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:
“During this interim period of uncertainty, service members must not come out and recruits should use caution if choosing to sign up. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law is rooted in any statement of homosexuality made at anytime and to anyone. A higher court is likely to issue a hold on the injunction by Judge Phillips very soon. The bottom line: if you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon. As the DOJ fights to keep this unconstitutional and oppressive law, we are monitoring active-duty clients’ cases and fielding calls every day to our hotline. Given the uncertainty in the courts, we urge the Senate to act swiftly next month on repeal when they return to Washington.”