Lt. Dan Choi: Support Marriage Equality, Repudiate Second-Class Citizenship

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Lt. Dan Choi was kicked out of the military for coming out of the closet, and he leant his West Point graduation ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at last year’s Netroots Nation — until Reid and the U.S. government repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” That ring is back on Choi’s finger. At this year’s Netroots conference in Minneapolis, Choi spoke to The UpTake about the fight for same sex marriage equality, and he addressed Minnesotans who will vote next year on an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment that Republicans pushed through the state House and Senate:

“I serve my country and all of its citizens. Those gay soldiers out there on the front lines protecting our right to exist in peace and security as well as our freedoms, they fight for you, regardless of your orientation. I just ask you to consider fighting for them. When you see someone hurting by the side of the road in a dangerous area, you don’t ask yourself what will happen to me if I don’t help that man. You ask what will happen to that man if I don’t stop and help him. There are people that are hurting in our communities because they are told they will never grow up to be equal, full, accepted citizens. I don’t want another gay American to commit suicide. I don’t want another to grow up thinking he or she is not good enough. I want you to vote in a way that repudiates that hatred, that repudiates that immoral and un-American idea that some people are not deserving of full dignity, that human beings get at birth.

I was born gay. God made me gay, and I am blessed to be gay, even when my country discriminates against me, I am willing to fight for this country because what it means is that I am my brother’s keeper. What it means is that this movement, whether you deny it, it will not disappear this year. I have fought for many things. But when I started fighting for my right to love, and all the consequences that came with it, love is probably the only thing worth fighting for, and I want you by my side. I want you to repudiate this end of second-class citizenship.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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