Adding insult to injury, the Defense Department — after discharging gay service members under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — apparently sends these former soldiers a bill, demanding they pay back “unearned portions” of their contracts.
Dan Choi, the high profile gay rights activist and Iraq war veteran discharged last year under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has received a bill for $2,500 (PDF), which the federal government claims is the “unearned portion” of his re-enlistment bonus.
And Choi’s response: “I refuse to pay a cent.”
In 2008, Choi was paid a $10,000 bonus for enlisting in the National Guard for three years. Now that he has been discharged under the military’s ban on openly gay service members, the Defense Department says he owes $2,500 for failing “to satisfactorily complete that assigned term,” according to a military spokesman.
As Choi sees it, his involuntary discharge came from an “unethical policy” and refuses to repay that money.
“It would be easy to pay the $2500 bill and be swiftly done with this diseased chapter of my life, where I sinfully deceived and tolerated self-hatred under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Choi wrote in a letter this week to President Barack Obama.
“My obligations to take a stand, knowing all the continued consequences of my violations, are clear. I refuse to pay your claim.”
According to the demand letter, if Choi did not pay his debt within 30 days, the Department said it could refer his account to a private collection agency, or seek legal action through the Justice Department, and report the delinquency to credit bureaus.