DADT Dead? Not Yet: Soldier’s Discharge Hearing Starts

While President Obama’s signing of the legislative “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was widely praised last year, open-service advocates have always been quick to point out that until the policy is officially retired, gay servicemembers remain at risk. This week Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado faces a discharge hearing after being outed by a fellow officer in 2009 based on the content of his MySpace page — a hearing that is going ahead despite repeal being underway.

From The Bay Citizen:

“I got comfortable about my position and I decided to make my MySpace page public,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado, 26, said in an interview.

“There are pictures of me at gay pride parades and festivals and one of myself and a casual friend kissing,” he said.

Morado, who grew up in Sacramento and is currently stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, outside Fresno, said he was initially surprised when his command wrote him up over a year ago for violating don’t ask, don’t tell — which forbids gays and lesbians from serving openly.

Morado breathed a sigh of relief when President Obama signed repeal legislation, thinking that DADT discharges had ended and he would be spared. Not so, it would seem.

More from The Fresno Bee:

A senior enlisted man in his ordnance and weapons unit turned him in, he said, and an admiral signed off on discharge proceedings. Once that happens, Morado said, “they have to go through with it.”

However, no members of the Navy will be discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” without approval of the secretary of the Navy, Lt. Myers Vasquez, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said Wednesday.

Morado said that after he was outed, his job duties changed from making bombs to managing barracks.

Other sailors have told him they are on his side, he said.

“All I’ve gotten is support and shock that this is happening — nothing negative,” Morado said.

Morado said the hearing will be overseen by an administrative board of two officers and a senior petty officer.

The hearing will not be open to the public.

Navy officials are calling the matter “sensitive” and have said they are investigating further, explaining that they are unaware of the specifics of the case.

Last year, Secretary Gates announced tougher regulations related to DADT discharge proceedings while implementation of the repeal is underway, but this did not cover third-party outings and as such Morado’s case is still technically within the Navy’s jurisdiction to pursue.

GetEqual, a direct action group that has been publicizing Morado’s case, has a statement from Morado on the effect this situation has had on him:

This lengthy matter has been tearing me up; it has destroyed relationships and displaced loved ones who were relying on me. But even after the U.S. Government has made it clear they don’t want this law in effect the Navy has said that, because the paperwork has been submitted and the policy is technically still active, they have no choice but to continue.

I have been in the U.S. Navy since I graduated high school. It’s all I know and all I want to do. I have dreams of grandeur, hopes of retiring a young, highly-decorated, respected senior enlisted sailor. My resolve is weakened but not broken. I just have to place my fate in the hands of three strangers — strangers who I hope have strong moral convictions and like-minded sentiments to my own.

GetEqual has a petition that you can sign in support of Derek Morado which you can view and sign here.

Related Reading:

A three-member military panel last night voted unanimously to allow Morado to retain his place in the Navy! Read more here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to the U.S. Army Photostream.


Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

I still don't know why people are still paranoid about stuff like that. We all have our preferences, and shouldn't be condemned for it.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

They warm everyone in the military it wasn't over and it won't ever be over if Republicans gain the WH or a majority in the Senate.

Christine K.
Christine K6 years ago

Welcome to the wonderful world of military regulations.

Changing military policy is not a 'wave your magic wand and it all goes away' process, it's a slow process of review of ALL matters affected by the policy change, decisions on what to change (forms, procedures, etc, etc) and how and when to best do that, and until it's finalized in the written regulations it's pretty damned foolish to assume what's going to be allowed. The individual services probably will still include restrictions on particular behaviors, such as attending in uniform rallies/parades/anything seen as potentially political or implicating the military endorses something. But it won't be known until the new regulations are published.

Changes this radical take at least a year for full implementation, at minimum. So be patient just a little longer.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Lyn F.
Lyn F.6 years ago

Right on Debi C. Hey will some one vouch for me so I can send greens stars? Thanks.

John Williams
John Williams6 years ago

Republicans - want to end waste of government money ??? START BY STOPPING DADT TRIALS AND INVESTIGATIONS.
Republicans, want smaller government ??? GET OUT OF PEOPLES PRIVATE LIVES AND BEDROOMS.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

This is very sad and such a pathetic waste of time. DADT has gone. I don't care when the case happens, this should case should be tossed into the garbage can where it deserves to be, along with the fellow officer who outed him.

Karen & Edward O.
Karen and Ed O6 years ago

This makes my heart sad. I guess Petty Officer Morado didn't hear the many analysts on the ACCURATE news programs saying that people in the military should curb their revealing of their sexual identity until DADT is finally and completely done with. It looks like in the Navy it isn't done with it yet.

ewoud k.
ewoud k6 years ago

Bad news this one.

For teh good news read the update.

But just imagining to be able to discharge this man now that DADT is fading away.....WHAT the hell did they want to prove?

David L.
David L6 years ago

the person responsible for this atrocity belongs in the Quantico Brig, receiving the same humane treatment as Manning. Dont Ask Dont Tell is over, Obama signed its repeal into law. Besides, the policy of punishing service members who were outed by comrades was ended before hand. Morado should be reinstated and deserves an apology from his outer. The United States of America, is the last developed nation to discriminate against LGBTQ people in its military. This practice must end, and those who continue to troll the private lives of are doing no better than Bradley Manning did when h accessed those secret cables and released them via Wikileaks. In fact, Manning's actions are more more honorable than those of what most military award recipients. Trolling a Myspace page for evidence of homosexuality, and reporting it to a superior officer is spying, and cyberbullying, and both are unethical and immoral behaviors. Those who do such action upon their comrades deserve the torture that has been imparted upon Manning.