A Personal Look at "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

At a senate hearing Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen will unveil plans that could mark the beginning of the end of the policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.

President Obama has said he wants to phase out the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy implemented under former President Bill Clinton.

Lt. Dan Choi, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point currently faces discharge for publicly announcing he's gay.

"I think it's a very healthy thing for people to be able to tell the truth and to come to terms with who they are. I think it's a sign of maturity," Choi told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith.

"At my very first day at West Point, I learned that the honor code says a cadet will not lie, will not tolerate those who lie," said Choi. "They didn't say that a cadet who was gay could lie whereas straight cadets didn't have to lie."

Although recent polls show more acceptance of openly gay troops among younger generations in the U.S. Military, there is still some fierce opposition from the more senior members.

"I think that there are some people in the military that might have grown up in a different era, and they have fear, obviously, with the change," Choi told Smith. "My message to anybody in the military or anybody who is waking up and realizing that this might be a little bit scary for them: don't bet against our military. Don't assume that because you might be uncomfortable or certain people might be uncomfortable, that that translates to unprofessionalism or lack of discipline."

"Our soldiers are the best in the world, and we look all around the world and we see even in Israel and all of our allies in NATO, they have no problem with this."

"I think that when somebody makes a decision to join the military, they don't join the military because they're gay or they're straight or to be more straight or to be more gay. They do it because they believe in the values of our country, that it's worth protecting, and that's the reason why I joined," said Choi.
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