As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, June 05, 2009

CA-10: Dan Choi Endorses Anthony Woods

The President is under fire from the LGBT community for slow-walking their issues and turning away from campaign promises. It's getting a little ugly, and the President risks a lot of goodwill for a community that worked hard to elect him, especially in the wake of several victories on marriage equality in the New England area and Iowa and the historic level of activism after the passage of Prop. 8.

Central to this debate is the issue of gays in the military and the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Obama keeps insisting that he wants to change the policy, and his nominee for Secretary of the Army, Republican John McHugh, reportedly supports this change as well, saying that he has "no interest as either a Member of Congress or as … secretary of the Army to exclude by some categorization a group of people otherwise qualified to serve.” A recent poll shows overwhelming support for allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military, even among conservatives.

But the President could end this policy today by putting a moratorium on implementing the policy of throwing out qualified Americans from serving in the Armed Forces. Two of those Americans, Iraq war vets Dan Choi and CA-10 candidate Anthony Woods, are teaming up, as Choi announces his endorsement of Woods.

“For 10 years, I have known Anthony Woods as a leader and an officer of the highest caliber,” said Choi. “From defending our nation abroad, to fighting for our highest ideals here at home, Anthony Woods exemplifies the real world perspective that is needed to bring about real change in Washington, and I am proud to support his candidacy for Congress.”

An Arab Linguist, Lieutenant in the New York Army National Guard, and West Point Classmate of Anthony Woods, Choi rose to national prominence earlier this year when he openly declared that he was gay on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” The Army quickly launched discharge proceedings against Choi, who has vowed to fight his termination from the military under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy,” and re-deploy with his unit.

Like Choi, Woods also served in Iraq, commanding 81 soldiers and earning both the Bronze Star and Army Commendation medal during two tours of duty. Woods was also discharged after challenging the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and would be the first openly gay African American ever elected to the United States Congress [...]

Choi will join Woods at two events in Northern California this month---the first on June 26th in Davis, and the second on June 29th in San Francisco.

Obviously, Woods is more than a single issue candidate. But the imagery of someone replacing Ellen Tauscher, who is currently carrying the bill in the House to repeal the DADT policy, who was kicked out of the military using that policy, is undeniable, and can increase pressure on the President and Congress to finally do the sensible thing and remove that layer of discrimination in our armed services.

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