Military Recruiters Accept Openly Gay Recruits After Ban Lifted

Military recruiters told to accept openly gay applicants, but with a warning.

ByABC News
October 19, 2010, 5:41 PM

Oct. 19, 2010— -- Iraq War veteran and former Army Lt. Dan Choi was discharged from the National Guard in July after outing himself as a gay man, in violation of "don't ask, don't tell."

But with the controversial military policy no longer in effect after a federal judge issued an injunction, Choi headed to a Times Square military recruitment center in New York Tuesday to re-enlist.

"Today is a great day we can all celebrate," he said after filling out the paperwork. "I'm very excited to be in service to this country."

Gay advocacy groups trumpeted their plans to test the new rules at recruitment stations around the country, as the Pentagon told military recruiters they have to accept applicants who may openly volunteer that they are gay.

Pentagon spokesperson Cynthia Smith said, however, that recruiters have been told to inform openly-gay applicants that a reversal in the court's decision on the injunction against "don't ask, don't tell" may occur.

Recruiters have also been told not to bring up an applicant's sexual orientation themselves.

In the week since Federal Judge Virginia Phillips' order, imposing an immediate, worldwide ban on enforcement of the policy, the Pentagon has tried to determine what impact the shift would have on its operations.

It took officials two days to put together guidance to legal officers and the service chiefs, saying the Defense Department would comply with the judge's injunction while the Department of Justice weighs whether to appeal the decision.