Navy decides not to fire openly gay sailor
Although the military’s discriminatory gay ban is still in effect, at least one sailor will be keeping his job.
The Navy Administrative Separation Board Thursday recommend that 26-year-old Petty Officer Second Class Derek Morado not be fired even though he disclosed that he was gay on his MySpace page.
“I’m very very relieved,” Morado said in an interview with KPMH. “That’s my initial reaction.”
“My personal life will continue to be my personal life,” he told The Bay Citizen. “But now I don’t have to hide, I don’t have to struggle.”
“We did it!!” GetEQUAL Director Robin McGehee declared. “With your help, Derek gets to not only save his career, but walk prouder — without the burden of discrimination on his shoulders.”
“This is good news for a few reasons — it shows the power of grassroots efforts to apply pressure and the reality that, when we expose the truth and stand up for our dignity, we win. We don’t know how many other servicemembers are facing discharge, but we will not rest until all Americans — LGB and T — are free to serve their country freely, openly, honestly, and without danger of discharge,” she added.
The four-hour Navy hearing happened 100 days after President Barack Obama signed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” into law.
The policy remains in effect until 60 days after the president, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff all agree that the military’s ability to fight won’t be adversely affected by ending the ban. That’s expected to happen later this year.
Attorney Mark King told KMPH last year that it was still perfectly legal for the Navy to continue to pursue separations for sailors who admit they are gay.
“There is nothing illegal about what the Navy is trying to do,” he said. “If someone does something in January that by June is no longer a crime, there’s nothing unconstitutional about prosecuting them in September over what happened in January.”
“We have to treat them all with dignity and respect,” Navy Commander Danny Hernandez said. “At the same time, there is a law and we have to maintain that law.”
This video is from KMPH, broadcast March 31, 2011.