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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Dropping my DADT legal challenge and reasons why

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Today I made the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.

Earlier this week, a Navy review board dismissed my legal challenge to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy. They refused to weigh any of the evidence of my case, and they ruled against me on a technicality. The case was rejected because they said it wasn't "filed in a timely manner," even though it was filed the same day I learned about the option of appeal through the board. The board has the authority to waive the time requirement whenever it is "in the interest of justice." It's obvious they were not interested in justice.

The only option left for me is to pursue the case in federal court. After careful consideration, I have decided to no longer pursue my case. I can not thank you enough for the encouragement and support I've received through this horrible journey. I've been so outspoken about this policy, I felt it necessary to explain my decision. Now that pending litigation is over, I can finally tell my story.

From the very beginning, this case wasn't about fame or fortune - it was a matter of principle. My primary goal was to eliminate a discriminatory policy that is detrimental to our military. At this point, pursuing my legal challenge would not change the policy because there are several cases ahead of me that have already won a favorable decision. Two federal courts have recently ruled the policy to be unconstitutional. Our system of checks and balances has worked, and it is up to the Senate to finish the job. The law was passed by Congress, and it should be repealed by Congress. Because the Senate has refused to debate the repeal, President Obama should keep his campaign promise and suspend the policy through an executive order. A ruling on my case would have no impact in any of these areas.

So, what exactly happened to me? My story will be published soon, but here is a synopsis: I was a workcenter supervisor on my ship and during a briefing a member of my chain of command made several inappropriate comments. There was a sailor that was being picked on by some members in my department because of his perceived sexual orientation (he wasn't even gay!). It was my duty to report sexual harassment to my chain of command, so I did. In fact, it would have been a dereliction of duty if I had not reported it, since I was basically a witness to a crime. For reporting the incident, my command retaliated against me and discharged me from the Navy. They violated the DADT policy, as well as broke several other judicial procedures which made my discharge illegal. Today, there are several laws that protect whistleblowers and prevent retaliation in the workplace. I was honest and I did the right thing, yet it cost me my career. Because I had a superior record of performance, was highly decorated sailor, and I had done nothing wrong I received an honorable discharge. Most people don't receive an honorable and they lose all of their benefits as veterans.

Soon I will publish all of the details of my ordeal, including the actual documents that clearly demonstrate how the DADT policy was abused. Since I have an honorable discharge and the courts have already ruled against the policy, there is nothing more I can do to affect the repeal.

Because of this policy, our nation has lost the service of some of the best and brightest citizens. We lost them at a time when our country needed them the most. As citizens, I think it is important for us to recognize the sacrifices of all of the brave men and women serving our country. It is a travesty of justice that they can't enjoy some of the very freedoms they are fighting for - we must end DADT.

Again, I want to thank each of you for your unwavering support throughout this difficult time of my life. There is no way I could have made the journey alone. Now that my journey is ending, I can finally close this chapter of my life and move forward.

Thank you!

-- Gary Wright II

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