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Air Force Changes Mind, Moves to Discharge Lesbian Officer

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Apr 23, 2010 8:40PM

2010_04_23_dontask.jpg The military's Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy on openly gay and lesbian employees again feels increasingly subjective and complicated, if ridiculous, judging on the Air Force's recent decision to discharge Lt. Robin R. Chaurasiya, a lesbian officer from Chicago. Earlier this year, it was announced that Lt. Chaurasiya (pictured) would be allowed to continue serving in the Air Force despite her admission of being a lesbian. She had even entered into a civil union in New Hampshire with her partner. But Chaurasiya's commander at the Scott Air Force Base, Lt. Gen. Robert R. Allardice, felt she had announced her sexual orientation with the sole purpose of avoiding military service, a loop hole in DADT allowing for military higher-ups to refuse discharging a soldier.

Earlier this week, Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr. reversed that decision. Jones chose to recommend Chaurasiya for final discharge due to her openness speaking with media on the subject and following research into her civil union's legitimacy. Pending confirmation from Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, her name will join the thousands of other servicemen and women discharged under the policy since its inception under the Clinton administration in 1993, including at least 443 discharged last year.

"I am kind of heartbroken," Chaurasiya told the LA Times of the decision. "I felt my situation was hinting at changes. I really thought I would be able to lead the way for a more equal military."

President Obama has pledged to end DADT and has come under fire from LGBT activists who argue their "fierce advocate" has not pushed adamantly for reform, though the military is currently in the process of a study of how to best institute gay-inclusive policies. Results of that study are not expected until December, rendering the odds of the policy's repeal this year slim.

Advocates for DADT repeal disrupted his speech at a California fundraiser for Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer last weekend, while six gay servicemen and women were arrested Tuesday for chaining themselves to the White House fence. Fearing the loss of some legislative support come November, they are pushing for repeal of the gay military ban added to this year's Defense Authorization Budget.