Lt. Dan Choi prosecuted vigorously for protesting

August 9, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

Perhaps you already know the story about Lt. Dan Choi, a gay man with specialized training in Arabic who, for more than

Dan Choi - Creative Commons

a decade, served honorably with the U.S. military, including service in Iraq from 2006-2008.  After transferring to the New York National Guard, however, he announced that he was gay on Rachel Maddow’s show.  He came out very much aware that the law of the land was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which he appropriately described as “an immoral law and policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation.”

After coming out on Maddow’s show, Choi received a discharge letter from the military. Choi publicly stated, “It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.”

In 2010, Choi was arrested for demonstrating, as described by Jane Hamsher of Fire Dog Lake:

Choi chained himself to the White House fence on

November 10, 2010 to protest DADT. He and 12 others activists were arrested and charged with violating a federal regulation prohibiting “interfering with agency functions,” in this case refusing to obey an order from the National Park Service.

In the eyes of the Federal government, even a man who has given a great deal of his life for his country should never be allowed to embarrass the government by serving as a reminder that a law on the books is evil.   Therefore, the trial is about to commence, despite the fact that the judge is perplexed by the severity of the charges.

In the meantime, Dan Choi is facing ignominy from another front, set forth in a mass mailing I just received from FDL:

Collection agencies are now demanding Dan pay over $3,000 to the Department of Defense to “make up” for the portion of his enlistment he did not serve after he was thrown out of the Army for disclosing his sexual orientation. That includes seizing his veterans disability checks that he depends on to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service in the Iraq War.

Welcome to modern day America.   If this prosecution outrages you as much as it does me, sign the petition at FDL.

I’d bet that President Obama, who has severely wavered on his commitment to gay rights, has sufficient political clout to grab a front row seat to Choi’s trial, if he would like to become visibly associated with Choi’s upcoming trial and punishment.  After all, isn’t that what Choi deserves for daring to speak out about an injustice?  this makes me wonder . . .  If Martin Luther King magically returned and was put on trial for civil disobedience in 2011, would Barack Obama stand by in that case too and allow the feds make even more of a mockery of civil liberties?

Note:  DADT is scheduled to be deemed unenforceable as of September 20, 2011.

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Category: American Culture, Bigotry, Corruption, Orwellian

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Tim Hogan says:

    Choi is being prosecuted under an ordinance or statute which is “void or vagueness.” If judges, cops, prosecutoirs and juries get to make up what is a violation of the law, it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the US Constitution.

    I guess if I pee or take a dump on federal ground, I may be prosecuted for “interfering with agency functions” by forcing them to clean up my shit.

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