Dan Choi’s open letter to the President: I’m not paying $2500 DADT Debt

A link to this open letter by Dan Choi was Tweeted and an email copied to Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (aka the LGBT liaison). Click to enlarge the documents Dan submitted:

Dear Mr. President:

Today I received a ,500 bill from your Defense Department Finance and Debt Services. Specifically, you claim payment for “the unearned portion” of my Army contract. Six months after my discharge under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy I have tried to move forward with my life, and I was inspired by your clarion calls for our progress as one nation towards a more just society. I have served my country in combat and I have tried to live my life by the values I learned at West Point in continued service to our nation. To move forward in my own life I have finally sought treatment for Combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Insomnia, and Depressive Disorder from the Veterans Affairs Department. But I still find myself on a domestic battlefield for basic dignity as an American citizen. I know I am not alone in this fight because of the desperate cries for help I get from discharged, unemployed, discriminated, and suicidal veterans. I have felt all of their same pains personally. Today I also witness the disgrace of a country that perpetually discovers methods to punish its own citizens for taking a moral stand.

By flagrantly and repeatedly violating an immoral law, I have flagrantly and repeatedly saluted the honor of America’s promise. At West Point, when we recited the Cadet Prayer we reminded ourselves “always to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.” It would be easy to pay the 00 bill and be swiftly done with this diseased chapter of my life, where I sinfully deceived and tolerated self-hatred under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Many thousands have wrestled with their responsibilities and expedient solutions when confronted with issues of this magnitude. I understand you also wrestle with issues of our equality. But I choose to cease wrestling, to cease the excuses, to cease the philosophical grandstanding and ethical gymnastics of political expediency in the face of moral duty. My obligations to take a stand, knowing all the continued consequences of my violations, are clear.

I refuse to pay your claim.

Respectfully,

Dan Choi

Former Army First Lieutenant

West Point Class of 2003

Attached:

DFAS Account Statement 12/20/2010 (2 pages)

Also published to twitter @ltdanchoi

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CNN: DMV Employee Resigns Over Letter Condemning Customer To Hell

Well, this is relatively good news, although the outcome could have been better. CNN is reporting the following in their piece DMV Employee Resigns Over Letter Condemning Customer To Hell:

A California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee who allegedly wrote a letter to a transgender woman and condemned her to hell has resigned, officials said Thursday.

The employee, who worked for the DMV for two years, resigned Wednesday and will not receive benefits or unemployment, according to department spokesman Mike Marando.

“This in no way diminishes the severity of the situation,” Marando said, adding officials believe the DMV employee’s behavior was an isolated matter.

The attorney for the transgender woman said the employee should have been fired, instead of being allowed to resign.

Amber Yust has taken out a restraining order on Thomas Demartini, the now former DMV employee. If you read the letter from Thomas Demartini, you get an idea of why Amber took out the restraining order:

Dear _____________,

On Thursday, October 21,2010, I helped you get a driver’s license or ID card at the San Francisco DMV. I noticed that you were changing your name and had supporting documents for the change. As I recall one of those documents outlined something to do with a gender change.

Thumbnail Link: Letter Sent To Amber Yust From Former California DMV Employee Thomas DemartiniI have learned that the reason for the vast majority of gender change operations is the client’s homosexual orientation. The homosexual act is an abomination that leads to hell. “If anyone lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination: let them be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:13) “Do not err. Neither … the effeminate nor Iiers with mankind … shall posses the Kingdom of God:(l Corinthians 6:9-10). The homosexual act is one of the sins that cries to heaven for vengeance. Supporting those who commit this act and encouraging and justifying those who have the orientation also lead one to hell.

Romans 1:21-32 explains how the homosexual orientation is connected with worshiping visible things in the world rather than the One Who created them. If this orientation is the reason for an operation that has yet to occur (or is in the process), I beg you–DO NOT GO THROUGH WITH IT!

You can see that I do not support gender change operations. Consider Genesis 1:21: “Male and female he [God] created them”; and then Leviticus 19:28″: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh.” Jesus clearly prohibits gender change operations. If an operation like this is the reason for changing one’s name, then one has made a very evil decision.

Although I helped you with the name change, I have to say I do not support the reason for it if it relates to the above. If it does I must say I do not approve of this name change, and I also do not believe the state’s recognition of it through official documents-makes it legitimate or any less evil

Please take a look at www.vaticancatholic.com. This website has critical information for your salvation and much more on many other topics.

In Charity,

Thomas

Someone who engages in the kind of behavior that Demartini is alleged to have engaged in shouldn’t be allowed to resign, but instead he should have been be fired. In my opinion, the California DMV should have fired Demartini if their inquiry verified he sent the letter — that, to me, would have been a more optimal outcome. Specifically culling out a woman who is from a protected class due to her gender identity should be treated in the harshest manner — especially since Demartini has a history of not treating transgender people with dignity and respect — he’s apparently has previously engaged in antitransgender behavior on the job at the DMV.

Basically, how Amber Yust is alleged to have been mistreated is beyond the pale unacceptable. The perpetrator of any kind of discrimination against someone who belongs to a protected class should be fired, not be allowed to resign.

~~~~~

Related:

* Transphobia As An Apparent Government Function

*California DMV Employee Tells Trans Woman In Letter She’s Made A “Very Evil Decision”
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Letter to President Obama on the Stalled VA Policy for Trans Veterans

Transgender American Veteran Association White Paper: Transgender People In The U.S. Military(I felt the need to appeal to the President via E-mail on getting the stalled policy for the proper treatment of trans veterans out of the VA black hole.  The letters I keep getting from trans veterans of their mistreatment have been getting to me for a long time.  I hear they have people reading all E-mails at the WH, but I doubt it will go anywhere.  My phiosphy is that there is no shame in failure, but there is in failure to try.  I had to try.)

Dear Mr. President,

I am the President of the Transgender American Veterans Association, an 8-year organization to help trans veterans with their VA problems.  Trans veterans have been mistreated in the VA for decades, even those with 20 or more years of service.  We did a survey in 2007 and the results are horrible.  You can view it at  http://www.tavausa.org/Survey_Results.html

In 2008, TAVA and NCTE worked with the VA to draft a new policy that would resolve the problems we saw in the survey.  However, the VA has been sitting on it since July of 2008 and no one can tell us why.  We even appealed to Sec. Shinseki and he hasn’t been able to help.  This is a final appeal to someone who may listen and I am hoping you care about veterans still having problems with the VA.

Thumbnail Link: Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)I know that you have more on your plate than a sumo wrestler in an all-you can eat restaurant, but I received two new stories from trans veterans in the last 24 hrs that made me want to write this.  We have read dozens of similar problems since July of 2008 and the new policy would have helped, but the VA is still allowing the mistreatment to continue unchecked.

I had “hope” that you would treat all veterans with the respect they deserved and you have gone a long way in that manner.  I thank you for that.  But, the job is not anywhere over.  There are still veterans who are treated with disdain and discrimination simply because of the direction their lives took AFTER they served this country.  They fought for this country.  They protected this country and the people in it.  They even bled for this country and gave their limbs for this country.  And yet, the US still treats them like 3rd class citizens.  Is that the right treatment they deserve?

Mr. President, I am begging you to help.  It can’t be any more simpler than that.  Please ask the VA to release that policy, called, “Providing Healthcare for Transgender and Intersex Veterans.”  I did eight years in the Navy, my father was a veteran of three wars, my grandfather was a veteran, my brother and his son are veterans.  My son served 4 years in the Marines and did two tours in Iraq, so you are getting this appeal from a long line of people who have served proudly.  Since TAVA has met with closed doors for 17 months, I felt a need to turn to you for help.  On behalf of the thousands of trans veterans in the US, I ask for your help.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Monica Helms

President, TAVA

~~~~~
Related:
* DADT and the TAVA Survey Revisited
* TAVA And The Palm Center: A Look At Transgender Military And Veteran Experiences

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Calif DMV Investigates Hate Letter

DMV x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COMThe California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended one of its
employees and is looking for more answers after the clerk sent a
scornful letter to the home of a transgender woman seeking to change her
driver’s license.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Freedom federation’s freedom-fettering letter

First ditch:

Screen Shot 2010-12-02 At 6.27.15 Pm

Second ditch:

Screen Shot 2010-12-02 At 6.27.30 Pm

Third ditch:

Screen Shot 2010-12-02 At 6.27.55 Pm

Last ditch:



DADT letter

Our favorite part? That Linda Harvey is apparently so special, she gets her name listed twice. It must be her bold work warning America about the stealth, “cleaned up” gays.



Good As You

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McConnell, GOP Senators Hold DADT Repeal, Dem Initiatives Ransom in Letter to Harry Reid

All 42 GOP Senators have signed a letter from Mitch McConnellto House Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to block all initiatives, including the Defense Authorization Act with DADT attached, until Republicans get their way on Bush tax cuts.

McconnellExcerpt from letter from GOP Senators to Harry Reid, via The Plum Line:

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation's unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." He went on to say that Americans "want jobs to come back faster." Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

****

We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation's small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

However, Greg Sargent says that there's a good possibility that certain GOP Senators would abandon McConnell on this:

"Senator Susan Collins confirms to me that she could still vote for cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal of DADT if ample time is alloted for floor debate and amendments…This wouldn't be the first time a tactic like this from McConnell has failed to maintain GOP unity, despite his threats to the contrary. On Wall Street reform, Dems were able to break the GOP filibuster despite McConnell's bluff…Someone should ask senators Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, and John Ensign whether they are willing to rule out a vote for DADT repeal if the Bush tax cut standoff isn't yet resolved. My bet is their answers might be surprising."


Towleroad News #gay

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Wash. Post on AMERICAblog’s sign on letter to Obama about DADT

Last week, AMERICAblog launched a sign on letter to President Obama. We asked him to become fully engaged in the effort to pass the DADT language this year. We’ve nearly reached our initial goal for the letter, which you can sign here.

Today, Washington Post’s Perry Bacon wrote about our effort to get Obama engaged in the effort to end DADT:

Liberal groups are demanding the president not shift to the center or look for compromises with Republicans. They are already organizing to protest the idea of an Obama-created commission to reduce the budget deficit and pushing him to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy that bars gay from serving openly in the U.S. military.

“When John McCain was leading the filibuster against the Defense Authorization bill, President Obama didn’t make one phone call to Capitol Hill. But he did find time that day to call the WNBA champs,” wrote John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay, two gay rights activists, in an email appeal to progressives last week that referred to the legislation that includes that the “don’t ask” repeal.

“With the Defense bill being brought up again in the next few weeks, we need President Obama’s leadership once again — this is not the time for him to be MIA. He promised to be our fierce advocate,” the email said.

If the DADT language is going to pass, the President has to step up. His staff concocted the strategy that got us into the legislative mess we’re in. He has to help fix it. You can sign our letter to Obama here.



AMERICAblog Gay

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Stop the National Organization for Marriage from assaulting our courts – sign our letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

Cross-posted from NOMExposed.org

Today NOMExposed is launching an effort to fight back against what the National Organization for Marriage did in Iowa.

NOM set its political bulls-eye on ousting three of Iowa’s Supreme Court justices who agreed that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. On Election Day, all three lost.

This was not about Iowa. (Marriage equality remains law in the state.) It was about scaring other judges across the country, including U.S. Supreme Court justices. NOM’s message:  either rule they way we want you to, or we’ll come after you.

NOM’s actions were a heavy-handed assault on our nation’s courts.

Sign our letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts asking him to condemn NOM and to speak out for an independent judiciary free from bitter partisan political campaigns like the one waged in Iowa.

Being virulently anti-LGBT is one thing. Tearing down our justice system is quite another.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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HRC Sends Open Letter on DADT to President Obama

Today we released an open letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese to President Barack Obama regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the necessity of administration action to end the discharges this year.  The full text is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness.  In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.  Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly.  We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by. 

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution.  I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception.  How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all? 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.  

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress.  While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections.  There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it.  Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly.  This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care.  You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day. 

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end.  And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision.  But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation.  HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely.  More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism.  You have acknowledged that it harms our national security.  If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges.  Anything less is unacceptable.    

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good.  Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become. 

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese
President


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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HRC Sends Open Letter on DADT to President Obama

HRC hasn’t directly scolded this President regarding his inaction on our issues, so this is a change in approach as the clock is winding down. This just landed in my inbox… Too soft? too little, too late? Or does it strike the right balance given the org’s position?

The Human Rights Campaign today released an open letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese to President Barack Obama regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the necessity of administration action to end the discharges this year.  The full text is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness.  In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.  Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly.  We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by.

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution.  I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception.  How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all?

More below the fold.

 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.  

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress.  While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections.  There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it.  Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly.  This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care.  You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day.

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end.  And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision.  But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation.  HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely.  More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism.  You have acknowledged that it harms our national security.  If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges.  Anything less is unacceptable.    

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good.  Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become.

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese                                                

President

After all…


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