Protests like Lt. Dan Choi’s demonstration against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell usually involve only a fine. But Choi faced a trial and jail time for it.
Even though President Obama repealed DADT in 2011, federal charges against Choi’s 2010 protest, where he and 12 others chained themselves to the White House fence, have been aggressively pursued. Unlike the other protesters, Choi refused to plead guilty.
Having lost his job for coming out publicly in 2009, the Iraq War veteran told Huffington Post that this trial has prevented his re-enlistment, and his attorney believes Choi is being targeted by the military as a gay man who’s attracting too much attention.
Today US District Court in Washington, DC convicted Choi for “failure to obey” and fined him $100. If he refuses to pay it, as expected, he could face six months in jail.
But Choi should not face any penalty at all for peacefully protesting a policy that violated his Constitutional rights.
Tell DOJ, no jail time for Dan Choi.
We, the undersigned, are opposed to the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Dan Choi.
Choi was certainly justified in protesting an unconstitutional military policy that denied him equal protection under the law.
An Iraq War veteran, Choi told Huffington Post he feels betrayed by the country he served but still believes in America’s ideal of freedom. Certainly he deserves to enjoy equal rights promised all Americans.
The DOJ’s aggressive action taken against Choi for standing up for his rights as a U.S. citizen is even more outrageous in light of the 2011 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
We request that no further punishment be inflicted upon Choi for taking this courageous stand on equal rights for gay servicemen and women. Furthermore, we believe the Department of Justice owes him an apology.
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