Troops Discharged for Being Gay Try to Re-Enlist

At least three service members who were kicked out under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” start the process.

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BY Aliyah Shahid
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Welcome back… maybe.

At least three U.S. service members who were kicked out of the military for being gay have begun the process to re-enlist, including Lt. Dan Choi, the poster child for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The Pentagon ordered the military to accept openly gay recruits on Tuesday -- the first time in the country's history.

[Read more about national security.]

It all stems from Federal Judge Virginia Phillips' recent order, imposing an immediate ban on the military's former policy. Although government lawyers said they would appeal the decision, top level guidance ordered the new recruiting commands on Tuesday.

The movement to reverse the policy gained momentum after President Obama campaigned for its repeal.

But the policy is not set in stone, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

She said recruiters have been told to inform potential military personnel that the moratorium on enforcement could be reversed at any time if the ruling is eventually appealed or if the courts grant a stay.

That has led some gay rights groups to discourage service members from coming out of the closet just yet.

Choi, an Iraq war vet who was discharged after he outed himself as a gay man in July, went to a military recruitment center in Times Square to begin the process to re-enlist.

"I believe that if we want our rights, if we want access to the American promise we must demand it now," he told a large crowd of reporters and onlookers.

In San Diego, Will Rodriguez, who was booted from the Marines under the policy in 2008, gave his contact information to recruiters. He was told there were no open positions, but they would call him in January when more slots would open.

In Stockton, Calif., Randy Miller, 24, who was honorably discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2006, said he was turned away from local Army recruiting station officials who said they had not heard about the new recruiting policy.

That didn't stop him. He went to the Navy's recruiting office next door and was allowed to begin the paperwork.