As soon as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was officially repealed, the question arose: Would those servicemembers discharged under the odious policy get reinstated?
The answer, at least for Petty Office 2nd Class Jase Daniels, is “yes.”
Daniels, a Navy linguist discharged in 2007 after he was featured in an article about being gay in the military in the Stars & Stripes, was sworn back in and reported to duty at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, this week.
Daniels enlisted into the Navy in 2001 and served in the Navy Ceremonial Guard for two years before studying Hebrew at the Institute. The Navy began discharge proceeding against Daniels after he transferred to Fort Gordon in 2005—where he came to terms with his sexuality and came out to his commanding officer.
He was recalled to active duty, though, in 2006 and sent to Kuwait. (Nothing like enlistment shortages to get the brass to look the other way, huh?) Eventually, Daniels was discharged again after appearing on the cover of Stars and Stripes, though he maintains he was able to serve as an openly gay man during most of his second tour of duty.
“Today, I took an oath and affirmed to defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” Daniels said on Monday. “I am humbled as I am reinstated to the job I love and by the enormous support I have received on this momentous day. I look forward to returning to the Defense Language Institute and ultimately, my career in the military.”
Daniels is one of three plaintiffs in a lawsuit, Almy v. U.S., that challenges the constitutionality of discharges under DADT. The fate of the other plaintiffs, former Air Force Major Mike Almy and former Air Force Staff Sergeant Anthony Loverde, are expected to be announced soon, according to representatives of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
We hope Almy and Loverde will enjoy the same victory Daniels did, but what of the thousands of others who haven’t filed lawsuits? And what of those too old to return to active duty? Is it too much to expect all LGBT veterans will get justice?