Jim Pietrangelo, who joined Dan Choi in being handcuffed to the White House fence that very first time last year, contacted me to say that he tried to reenlist today and was told no, in spite of a court order that just got rid of DADT. Here is Jim’s version of what happened:
In October 2010, a California federal court found “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional and issued a world-wide injunction prohibiting the U.S. Military from enforcing it. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit reinstated that injunction after having stayed it. Yesterday, the Pentagon said that it “will comply” with the reinstated injunction and “is informing commands worldwide of the court’s order.” Yet, today, when I tried to join the U.S. Military, two different commands informed me that the Military was still not allowing Gays in.
At approximately 5 o’clock EST, today, July 7, 2011, I contacted an Army Recruiting station in Riverside, California—which is within the territory of the very federal court that issued the injunction in the first place—told them that I was Gay, that I had been involuntarily discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and that I was applying to re-enlist.
A Sergeant Borba or Borsby (spelling uncertain)—after speaking with his station commander on my question “whether the Army was still refusing to accept applicants that are Gay”—told me that he could “start processing” me, “but not officially, [you] can’t enlist yet.” “When it [repeal certification] becomes in effect, we can actually enlist you,” SGT Borba told me. SGT Borba later confirmed that his recruiting center “won’t be processing” Gay applicants “until the Pentagon says it’s OK to let Gay people in.” SGT Borba placatingly indicated that repeal certification would “come into effect real soon,” but when I pressed him on what the proverbial “real soon” meant, he said he “had no idea.” When I asked why he had no guidance on the subject when the Pentagon had said yesterday that it was immediately informing all field commanders of the injunction, he had no answer.
What SGT Borba told me is the same thing that another recruiter in the same federal court district, a sergeant Ortiz, had previously on February 17, 2011, told me when I tried to reenlist then. “No way, you’re Gay.”