US Navy Petty Officer Derek Morado
Despite the recall of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, a gay soldier was still forced to face a six hour dismissal hearing because of his sexuality yesterday.
US Navy Petty Officer Derek Morado (26) was outed in November 2009 after an anonymous source reported his MySpace page which included a picture of him kissing another man.
His job duties were then changed from making bombs to managing and cleaning barracks pending the outcome of the investigation into his sexual orientation.
While President Obama in December ordered that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gays and lesbian in the military be repealed, the actual implementation of the repeal is still underway in the US military.
Yesterday, Morado faced a hearing which could have led to his discharge under the law, which technically remains in force for now.
After six hours behind closed doors, Morado emerged with the news that the three members of the Lemoore Naval Air Station Board voted unanimously to keep him in the Navy.
Morado told The Fresno Bee that he was “ecstatic” about the decision.
GetEQUAL! – the US LGBT civil rights organisation that launched a nationwide e-mail campaign to highlight the soldier’s plight – welcomed the news.
“Today was a victory” said GetEQUAL! direcyor Robin McGehee, “we’re grateful to Derek for lending his story and his voice to highlight the fact that service members are still facing the discharge process, even 100 days after the law was repealed.”