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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Military discharges have *still* not ended!

In December, when President Obama signed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010," I breathed a sigh of relief. Although there is still work to do to make repeal fully inclusive and get it implemented, my hope was that at least now we would not lose another servicemember because of that discriminatory law. After so many discharges even as late as last year [1], I thought we were finally out of the woods.
Sadly, I thought wrong.
A short time ago, we were contacted by an active-duty servicemember who -- despite the repeal of this horrible law -- is still going through the process of being discharged. The process started for him on November 8, 2009, when someone anonymously outed him after seeing his MySpace page.
Within weeks, his discharge process began -- but it limped along while the government waffled about what to do about repeal. A year went by before he got any kind of update, each day believing it was his last day to serve his country. After the repeal bill was signed into law, he believed his case to be over.
But Derek got bad news earlier this month. Despite DADT repeal, his case is still being pursued and his hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. With implementation still not in place, is this the Navy's attempt to slip in another discharge or bully him with a hearing...just because they still can?
Derek joined the Navy right after high school -- here are his own words:
This lengthy matter has been tearing me up; it has destroyed relationships and displaced loved ones who were relying on me. But even after the U.S. Government has made it clear they don’t want this law in effect the Navy has said that, because the paperwork has been submitted and the policy is technically still active, they have no choice but to continue.
I have been in the U.S. Navy since I graduated high school. It’s all I know and all I want to do. I have dreams of grandeur, hopes of retiring a young, highly-decorated, respected senior enlisted sailor. My resolve is weakened but not broken. I just have to place my fate in the hands of three strangers -- strangers who I hope have strong moral convictions and like-minded sentiments to my own.
Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!
Robin McGehee, Director
[1] "Servicemembers United: An 'unusually high' 261 discharges under DADT in FY 2010" --
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