Gay serviceman: Just end 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'

President Obama has said the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on gays in the military weakens national security. An attorney for the nation’s largest Republican gay rights group says he plans to use those words to knock out the policy.

Attorney Dan Woods – who represents the Log Cabin Republicans – told a federal judge in Riverside that he will use the President's own statements in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell lawsuit. The Log Cabin Republicans lawsuit went to trial today. It aims to end the military's policy on gay servicemen and women.

While the case proceeds in federal court, the military is surveying troops about ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Former Army lieutenant Dan Choi — who was discharged when he revealed that he’s gay — told KPCC’s Patt Morrison today that troops need leaders, not opinion polls.

"People who serve in the military — and any veteran — know very clearly that education in the military does not start from a survey or a poll, " said Choi.

"Education starts from a commander laying down the law and saying, 'This is the right thing to do, period.'"

Choi graduated from West Point with a degree in Arabic, and served with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. He’s one of at least 60 Arabic and Farsi linguists dismissed from the military under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Choi said it's time for commanders to step up and end the policy with a single order.

"Anybody with any kind of moral or professional authority, from the newest corporal all the way up through the Commander-in-Chief — the President of the United States, has a moral responsibility to say, 'This is the way we are going.' Clearly, unambiguously," said Choi.

"Discrimination of any sort is not only against the military codes and all our traditions and our values, but it's against America."

The challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell by the 19,000-member Log Cabin Republicans is one of the broadest legal attacks on the policy in recent years. The group says 13,500 members of the armed services have been discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell since 1994.

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