Skip to main content

Discharged soldier will continue fight against 'don't ask, don't tell'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Ousted gay officer vows to keep fighting
  • Army Lt. Dan Choi was honorably discharged last week for being openly gay
  • He says he will continue to fight for those who cannot speak up
  • President Obama is pushing for a repeal of the controversial policy

(CNN) -- A former Army lieutenant who was discharged from service last week for being openly gay said Sunday that he will continue to fight for a quick repeal of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"I know that there are a lot of people who are suffering, and my oath, my commitment to them, doesn't end," former Lt. Dan Choi told CNN's Don Lemon.

Choi was arrested in March for handcuffing himself to a White House fence in protest of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bars people who are openly gay or lesbian from serving in the military.

He admitted his sexual orientation publicly for the first time last year on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," prompting the Army to initiate proceedings to discharge him.

Video: Gay vet: Obama not doing enough

Choi said that while his honorable discharge hurts, he knows there is a "greater purpose for every single one of us, even if we're stripped of all our wealth or our resources."

"One thing about honor, one thing about dignity -- it's not dependent on what's written on a document," he said. "That comes from standing up and being truthful to who you are."

He also vowed to "continue to speak up for those people who cannot."

"I'm going to continue to pressure those who purport to be our friends -- whether they're congressmen, senators or the president himself. If they make a promise, I will hold them to it."

President Barack Obama is pushing for a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. A bill that would overturn the measure after a Pentagon review is completed in December is currently before Congress.

More than 12,500 gays have been booted from the military since "don't ask, don't tell" went into effect.

Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate who is fluent in Arabic, was an infantry platoon leader, serving with his unit in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.