Lt. Dan Choi, Openly Gay And Excited To Rejoin Military In Face Of Possible DADT Repeal (VIDEO)
Since last week's court decision, in which a federal judge ordered the military to immediately stop enforcing Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Pentagon announced yesterday that recruiters must open their doors to openly gay and lesbian applicants.
But the legal landscape grew a little more murky this morning when the Obama administration announced an emergency motion seeking to stay the judge's decision, in effect keeping DADT alive. Though President Obama has emphasized his opposition to the policy, the administration prefers that Congress repeal it.
CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin believes the Obama administration wants to discard DADT through the political process and not allow the courts to decide unilaterally. By challenging the courts, it's possible that strategy could backfire, which is a risk that some discharged military service members fear.
Lt. Dan Choi became the public face of the opposition to DADT after he was discharged soon after saying he was gay while still enlisted. Choi is a West Point graduate, an Iraq War veteran, an Arabic linguist and former infantry officer.
Following yesterday's Pentagon announcement, Choi first applied to the Marines, who told him he was a few months too old to serve, and then the Army, which accepted his application. Choi and the U.S. Army are in the process of deciding if he'll join as a Specialist or as a Sergeant.
"This is the first time in history in the United States that gay people can, without lying about who they are, without hiding who they are, go in and they can also say 'I want to serve my country' and they're going to get processed," Choi told CNN this afternoon.
Choi says he always knew that once DADT was dead, he would be in the recruiting center to rejoin the military. Today, after filling out paperwork and scheduling medical tests and screenings, he passed a test, which says he can do any job in the military based on his scores. He hopes the paperwork goes through smoothly so he can take his oath of enlistment again.
"This is a really exciting day, not just for gay people, but for all of America. When I talk about DADT, it's not just the 14,000 who have been kicked out or fired. There are 14,000 units that are now deploying overseas, who don't have that capable Arabic or Farsi linguist, they don't have that pilot or infantryman," Choi said. "For the sake of the entire country, our national security, and for the sake of what our country is, I hope the Obama administration does not appeal and does not lift a finger to defend discrimination."