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Gay sailor faces discharge despite 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal

By Lewis Griswold, The Fresno Bee

After President Barack Obama signed a law in December to repeal the military's 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado hoped the new message from Lemoore Naval Air Station higher-ups would be something like "You're gay -- you can stay."

But Morado, who was outed by a fellow sailor in 2009, still faces discharge from the Navy. The 26-year-old sailor will appear at a hearing on the base today before a three-member panel that will recommend whether he should be discharged for homosexual conduct.

The hearing is not open to the public.

Although the law repealing the longtime policy was signed by Obama three months ago, it won't go into effect until 60 days after the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that lifting the ban won't hurt the military's ability to fight.

Under "don't ask, don't tell," the military could not discriminate against homosexuals and lesbians who remained in the closet, but could discharge anyone who is openly gay.

Morado said he's heard that no one has been discharged from the military for being gay since October. He hopes not to be the first since then, because he wants to make the Navy his career.

"It's all I really know," he said. "I've done it since high school. I just want to keep doing it."

A gay rights group has publicized Morado's case, putting out a call for signatures from supporters that he can take to today's hearing.

"At least they'll know people are watching and he has supporters in the community who won't let it just happen," said Robin McGehee of Fresno, a director of GetEQUAL. "The fact that the Navy is trying to slide one more discharge in under the wire is disgusting, and must be called out for what it is -- blatant discrimination and bullying."

Morado said Wednesday he knew he had to hide his homosexuality when he enlisted in 2003 after graduating from a Sacramento high school. But his sexual orientation became public after he posted a photo of himself on his MySpace page kissing another man.

"He was just a friend, not a romantic interest," Morado said.

To read the complete article, visit www.fresnobee.com.

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Another case at McChord AFB in 1971 resulted in the same decision by a military board.The administrative boards decision was based in scientific research and facts not speculation. The airman was asked to continue in the Air Force to help integrate Gays. He chose an honorable discharge.

Did you really think that Obama is the only one
that can disregard the law?

Bigotry. It's what the military is all about.

We do not want the gays in our ranks. This country is on a down hill slide. No morals. GAY IS IMMORAL AND A SIN! Get over it. I will never surender to you low life sinners.

Morals are not solely defined by your church Harv.

Blow it out your ass, Harv. It's hicks like you who are ruining this country.

There is no place for gays and lesbians in the military its just not right. What happens if someone needs blood, you have troops that have high risk sexual incounters, i would not want to be. On the reciving end.

Do you have any numbers to back that up, eric?

Eric, first all blood products are screened. Second, how do u know where the general public blood supply comes from? I bet gay people donate blood to the community blood bank as do straight people. Sounds lime you need a little education.

I served in the military and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. I personally don't agree with homosexuality but that's a persons choice. Being gay doesn't inhibit a person from fighting for there country. Isn't the main reason for a military to preserve freedom and democracy so we all can have rights? Ask yourself that.

Why are we so worried about this crap?. There are so many more problems this country should be working out...And why is being gay the new fad? Equal rights is a joke.

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