Openly Gay Valley Sailor Not Discharged - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Openly Gay Valley Sailor Not Discharged

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By: Ashley Ritchie

Last February, Petty Officer Second Class Derek Morado thought his days in the navy were limited.

"Here I am, never have gotten in trouble for anything and all of a sudden my career has ended over something that has nothing to do with my career.  To me it feels like a slap in the face," Morado said.

Morado was told he would be "administratively separated" under the terms of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

"Due to what they find is enough evidence to separate me based on a social networking website called My Space," Morado said.

On Thursday, more than a year after being told he would be discharged, Morado's hearing began, four months after President Obama signed a law repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"There's nothing illegal about what the navy is trying to do to this man right now as I understand it," Attorney Mark King said.

King says that's because the law, is the law.

"If someone does something in January that by June is no longer a crime, there's nothing unconstitutional about prosecuting them in September over what happened in January, because in January it was against the law," King said.

In fact, a navy spokesperson tells KMPH News, the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has to be certified by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman and President.

After that, it will take another 60 days before it goes into effect.

"We have to treat them all with dignity and respect. At the same time there is a law and we have to maintain that law," Navy Commander Danny Hernandez said.

But for Derek Morado, it wouldn't matter.

On Thursday the board voted against discharging him, which means he can continue his dreams of a decorated military career.

Hernandez tells KMPH, back in February the military began implementing the appeal and training all active and reserve personnel.

That training includes work on sensitivity and changing policies and it should be complete by the end of June.

It's not until then that it can be certified and the 60 day waiting period can begin.

If a soldier is discharged because of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, he or she can appeal the decision.

And military decisions can be taken all the way to the Supreme Court.

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